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Vancouver city councillor wants slower drivers on residential streets
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall believes cities should adopt a default speed limit of 30 km/h to cut down on pedestrian fatalities. July 6, 2017. (CTV)
Vancouver city council will vote next week on a pilot project that would force drivers to slow down to 30 kilometres per hour in some residential areas.
Councillor Pete Fry is asking both his council members and the Union of BC Municipalities to lobby the province for slower speed limits on local streets, or roads without a centre lane.
Fry’s motion, titled “Safer Slower Streets: 30 Km/h Residential Street Pilot,” argues for reducing speed limits from 50 to 30 km/h for local streets in Vancouver. Other municipalities would be able to increase speed limits on a case-by-case basis if Fry’s recommendations pass a vote.
The motion states the survival rate for people hit by vehicles moving only 30 km/h is roughly 90 per cent; that survival rate drops by 20 per cent when vehicles are moving at 50 km/h, the posted speed limit for most residential areas in Vancouver.
Fry cites a 2016 Provincial health Officer Annual Report recommended a limit of 30 km/h in urban areas, as well as a paper released by the B.C.-based Road Safety Law Reform Group in June 2016. He also points out in his motion that a 2018 B.C. Community Road Safety Toolkit further recommends dropping speed limits in downtown and residential areas.
The first-term councilor notes in his motion there are already several designated local streets with 30 km/h speed limits in Vancouver, including portions of Hastings Street, 29Avenue and Victoria Drive.
But he admits the changes won’t be easy.
“A blanket speed limit reduction for local streets would require changes to the Motor Vehicle Act or significant signage and roadwork by the city,” Fry stated in his motion.
Per the motion, a pilot street, as well as budgeting and proposed road design changes would need to be provided to council by fall 2019.