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Speed limits in school zones in Waterloo reduced to 30 km/h

The City of Waterloo says it is reducing speed limits in school zones from 40 km/h to 30 km/h.

It’s part of a plan to improve road safety for vulnerable users such as pedestrians, cyclists and children, the city said.

“We are reducing speeds in school zones and on residential streets in an effort to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways,” Jenny Setterfield, the manager of transportation with the City of Waterloo, told CTV News.

The first phase was rolled out on Thursday and included lowered posted speeds in school zones.

More changes are scheduled to be made in the following phases over the next two years:

Phase 1: School zones (spring 2023)

Phase 2: Wards 2 and 7 (summer, fall 2023)

Phase 3: Wards 4, 5 and 6 (spring, summer 2024)

Phase 4: Wards 1 and 3 (spring, summer 2025)

City council approved the speed management plan at a meeting in February.

"It is one step. There are many to go and it's part of our Road Safety Action Plan. As part of our pilot program we did show that just by reducing posted speed limits, the average speed did drop between 1 and 3 km,” Setterfield said.

All school zones will be reduced to 30 km/h, while minor collectors such as Thorndale Drive will be reduced to 40 km/h, major collectors such as Davenport Road will be reduced to 50 km/h and local roads will be reduced to 40 km/h.

Royce Bodaly, the Ward 2 councillor, believes it will make the roads safe.

“It's the number one factor in whether or not a child is going to survive an accident if it were to occur and while I understand that there's going to be an adjustment period to these lower speed limits, it's imperative when it comes to the safety of our children," Bodaly said.

A student at Laurel Heights Secondary School agrees.

“Slower is safer right? You know, people crossing a lot there, even though they are not watching, so it's a good precaution,” they said.

Joanne Struck lives in the Laurelwood area and she said she has mixed feelings about the changes.

“I think the 40 [km/h] in residential areas is terrific,” said Struck. “I go to some of these areas and drive in some of these areas. I can’t get over the speeds in the 40 area… 30 is too slow. A lot of people don’t obey 40.”

Ward 7 is scheduled to receive its own, ward-specific speed limit plan that includes 30 km/h in all school zones and local roads, 40 km/h on minor collector roads and 50 km/h on major collector roads.

The city said signs will be posted in neighbourhoods to alert residents of the changes.

Some believe signs should be a changed throughout the region.

“Regionally we have no consistency at all and you know we're going to try to figure out every day what the speed limit is supposed to be on what road. It makes no sense to me,” said Waterloo resident Frank Dingethal. Top Stories

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