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Vancouver to consider 30 km/h speed limit on local streets

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For years, traffic safety advocates have called for lower speed limits on local roads, and now Vancouver is joining a number of communities exploring a 30 km/h speed limit on side streets.

City council voted this week to look into making the change.

"You know, when you see somebody travelling 50 km/h down a residential side street, it seems weird because it is just way too fast," Green Party Coun. Pete Fry told CTV News on Thursday, after his motion passed unanimously earlier in the week. "I think most drivers actually do travel with due care. But it’s about really sort of committing to this as a policy change.”

Vancouver’s move to take a closer look at introducing slower streets has support from traffic safety advocates – who aim to completely eliminate speed-related deaths.

“People are really concerned about their families, their children, their loved ones walking around their neighbourhoods and the danger they face every day from people speeding, going through stop signs and going through red lights,” Lucy Maloney with Vision Zero Vancouver said Thursday.

Dropping the limit to 30 clicks an hour is becoming more fashionable around the province.

Victoria brought in a similar policy last year.

Saanich Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff would like to see all side streets around B.C. have this cap – and says his district is expanding the number of 30 km/h streets – but has to set up signs street by street.

“So, municipalities in B.C. have asked the province to do a blanket reduction in the default speed limit on residential streets,” Bondaroff told CTV News on Thursday. “That was to take it from 50 to 30 kilometres per hour. The province said municipalities can do it if they want to, but they weren’t going to step in and make that blanket change. And as a result, it’s created a lot of barriers and costs for municipalities.”

If Vancouver ultimately moves ahead, it will have significant implications, given local roads make up about 80 per cent of the city’s streets.

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