Waterloo city council lowers speed limits in residential areas to 30 km/h

The entrance to Waterloo City Centre. File

On Monday night, City of Waterloo Council voted to implement a uniform 30 km/h speed limit across the municipality.

The move was made despite a staff report that recommended placing 40 km/h speed limits in residential areas with 30 km/h in school zones.

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The report also noted a survey in which residents favoured the higher limits, as did Grand River Transit.

“Long term, should these delays become significant as transit ridership returns to pre-pandemic levels, this could result in additional running time and resources (buses, operators) required for up to six (6) GRT routes travelling on the affected streets,” the report stated.

However, Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region preferred the lower limit, noting that school zones are not the only areas where students walk.

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Coun. Royce Bodily put forth the amendment that moved the plan to lower speed limits, saying that the speed limits would lead to fewer fatalities, were better for the environment, and would essentially be less costly to taxpayers as the city would eventually head in that direction anyway.

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“I see my amended motion as simply the reverse of the one put forward by staff, rather than saying school zones are the exception area, and they’re where we really should prioritize greater safety by lowering the limit,” Bodily said.

“My motion put forward here says that all of the neighbourhood residential streets should be prioritized for gradient greater safety, with some appropriate exceptions.”

The lower speed limits will be implemented across the city by 2025 and will come at a cost of around $400,000.

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