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Three councillors tell traffic board they oppose raising speed limits

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A trio of city councillors got a wee taste of what it’s like for citizens who speak at city hall when they appeared before Manitoba’s Highway Traffic Board.

The provincial body held a hearing today about the possibility of raising speed limits on sections of Dugald Road, Grant Avenue, Pembina Highway and Waverley Street.

Couns. Russ Wyatt (Transcona), Justin Swandel (St. Norbert) and John Orlikow (River Heights-Tuxedo) appeared before the board and used their allotted three minutes to express opposition to raising speed limits.

At city council subcommittees, delegations are granted 10 minutes to speak.

The board itself raised the idea of raising speed limits to create uniformity for drivers, said board chairman Al Rivers, reassuring members of the public in attendance the city was not behind the move.

Orlikow, Swandel and Wyatt noted the city’s public works department normally deals with requests to amend speed limits on specific stretches of streets. After they spoke, all three – as well as Manitoba Liberal leader Jon Gerrard – said they found it odd the board is straying from its usual mandate of setting overall speed limits..

The majority of citizen delegations opposed the speed limits. Parents with young children and representatives of schools, daycares and cycling groups all cited the dangers of increasing speeds in Winnipeg.

A handful of residents, including former Sam Katz advisor Derek Rolstone, and representatives of anti-ticket activist group Wise Up Winnipeg supported increased speed limits.

University of Manitoba transportation professor Barry Prentice said it was important to create uniform speed limits on city streets.

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