Saskatoon city staff recommend decreasing residential speed limit

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Saskatoon city staff recommend decreasing residential speed limit
WATCH: A report heading to Saskatoon’s transportation committee recommends decreasing residential speed limits – Sep 4, 2021

The City of Saskatoon transportation committee is considering lowering the speed limit in residential neighbourhoods from 50 km/h to 40 km/h.

After hearing multiple concerns from residents concerning vehicle speed and pedestrian safety, the committee was asked to look into the issue.

The city administration makes the recommendation after a lengthy review that involved talking to other cities that have implemented the change and conducting a survey of just over 15,000 residents.

“The administration is recommending that the speed limit is 40 kilometres per hour on local streets and collector streets in residential areas,” said Jay Magus, director of transportation.

Read more: 3,000 warnings handed out as grace period for Edmonton’s 40 km/h default speed limit ends

However, 65 per cent of residents who participated in the survey voted against lowering the speed.

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The biggest downside that comes along with the decision was considered to be travel time for residents, as well as the increased need for police presence in the speed-limited areas.

Through research, the city administration found drivers would lose an extra 30 seconds during their travels.

Ward 9 Coun. Bev Dubois says she also has not heard positive feedback about the change.

Read more: Sussex-area man laments speedy neighbourhood traffic

“For me, [feedback] certainly weighs heavy when I vote on something like this. Of course, I’m always looking at safety and the wellbeing of folks in Saskatoon and this is a huge safety issue,” said Dubois.

If the project is presented to city council, there may be many more steps to go in the process, according to Magus.

“We have not done an in-depth transit review, we have not done in-depth cost evaluations because it’s so broad, we wouldn’t even know where to start right now. We need to kind of start down one path.”

He estimated the base cost could be somewhere around $600,000 for the City of Saskatoon.

The top reasons the committee is considering the change include reaction time and braking distance, visibility and collision severity.

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Read more: Calgary city council votes to reduce residential speed limits to 40 km/h

They also looked into school zones, areas with lots of bike paths and areas where seniors live.

“You have an increased chance of surviving or not being severely injured if you’re hit by a vehicle going 40 versus 50,” said Magus.

The recommendation will be presented to the standing policy committee on transportation on Tuesday.

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