Guelph lowering speed limit on dozens of city streets
KITCHENER -- Things are about to slow down in the Royal City, with council approving a plan to lower speed limits on several streets.
Almost 50 neighbourhoods and most of the downtown will see a reduction of 10 kilometres an hour.
Local advocates say it's a start, but there's a longer road ahead.
“I think it’s a huge step in the right direction,” said Mike Darmon, Guelph Coalition For Active Transportation.
On Tuesday night, Guelph City Council voted to reduce speed limits on 12 collector and arterial roads, like Gordon Street and Clair Road West, from 60 to 50 kilometres per hour.
Plus, residential streets in 48 neighbourhoods, and the downtown will be reduced from 50 to 40.
“Of course as the representative of the most vulnerable users of the street, pedestrians, cyclists, we were hoping to go to 30 kilometres an hour,” said Darmon.
Councillor Rodrigo Goller also wanted to see residential speeds reduced to 30, noting a previous call from Ontario's top coroner in 2012 who urged municipalities to lower 50 zones to 30.
“When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle travelling at speeds of up to 30 kilometres an hour 10.3 per cent were killed or hospitalized with a serious injury, when it went over 30 kilometres per hour it went up to 20.7 per cent of people who were killed or seriously injured,” noted Goller.
Although that request was denied for the time being.
“Staff recommendation is to take a gradual approach to this change,” said city engineer Terry Gayman. “There are a number of reasons, as to why that may be the approach that we recommend including giving time to drivers adjusting to change."
Mayor Cam Guthrie stated his support for an immediate decrease to 30, as did Councillor Bob Bell.
“Lets just spend tax payers money now and be done with it and not spend a bunch of money now and a bunch of money later,” said Guthrie.
With the majority of council against that move, the group moved to cut the speed by 10 instead of by 20.
The city will also purchase four automatic speed radars which will rotate neighbourhoods.
“That's a huge step, without enforcement signage is useless,” said Darmon.
City staff plan report to back to council in five years with data on the impact these changes have made.