Vancouver's push for B.C.-wide speed limit change faces criticism
Published Wednesday, June 26, 2019 12:41PM PDT Last Updated Wednesday, June 26, 2019 6:31PM PDT
A Vancouver-led mission to lower residential neighbourhood speed limits across the province is drawing support from citizens, but is being called a waste of time by some.
Vancouver city council unanimously approved a pilot project in May which would see speed limits on residential side streets dropped to 30 km/h.
City staff were also directed to submit the motion to the provincial government to enact the speed limits B.C.-wide.
"I think it's recognizing that we have a different society. We're not as car-centric, we have other road users," Coun. Pete Fry, who tabled the motion, told CTV News Vancouver. "As we densify our communities, residential side streets are becoming part of the public realm.
Fry says the proposal would help neighbourhoods and other road users stay safe.
The motion even led to Port Moody throwing its support behind Vancouver's plan to pressure the province, launching their own motion to drop speed limits.
It's a concept that's been well received by people across the province, according to a Vancouver-based pollster.
In an online survey conducted by Research Co., 58 per cent of British Columbians say they would "definitely" or "probably" like to see the speed limit dropped to 30 km/h on all residential streets in their own municipality.
"We always see the city of Vancouver doing things that aren’t particularly appealing to the rest of the province," said Research Co. President Mario Canseco. "But this particular issue is really popular. People outside the city of Vancouver are saying 'I want to see something similar happen in my city.'"
Nearly half of those surveyed also said they see cars driving above the current speed limits on their street at least once a day.
"There's a lot of residents saying 'this is a residential street, you shouldn’t be zooming by like it's a highway,'" said Canseco.
Research Co.'s survey was held online between May 26 and May 28. The data carries a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The public support has led to the provincial government willing to discuss the changes.
"I welcome the opportunity to meet with the City of Vancouver and other interested communities to discuss possible changes to the Motor Vehicle Act," Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said in a statement.
But one lawyer says the push to get the provincial government onboard is both a waste of time and money.
"By forcing the provincial government to change this, they're going to spend taxpayer time, taxpayer money to change, they're going to affect people outside of Vancouver when it's absolutely not necessary, it's a big waste of time," said Kyla Lee, a lawyer with Accumen Law Corporation.
Lee says the change will harm small towns across the province.
"Small towns in British Columbia with a couple hundred people, small towns with a population of even a couple thousand people don't have the resources to be spending to fix something that Vancouver has thrust upon them," she said.
Instead, Lee says engaging in more traffic enforcement would be a much cheaper way of enforcing speed limits.
Vancouver has to submit its request to the Union of B.C. Municipalities by the end of the month, and a location for the pilot project is scheduled to be revealed in the fall.
With a report from CTV News Vancouver's Scott Hurst