Putting the brakes on in four neighbourhoods
Pilot project to drop speed limits awaiting council approval
Four neighbourhoods could be participating in a pilot project that will see speed limits drop to 30 or 40 kilometres per hour this spring, pending final approval by city council.
Speed limits in the Tyndall Park South and Bourkevale areas will have a reduced speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour, while the neighbourhoods of Richmond West and Worthington would be reduced to 40 kilometres per hour.
If the bylaw amendment, which made it through the public works committee on Jan. 10, is approved by council, the pilot project will go ahead in March or April.
Waverley West councillor and public works chairperson Janice Lukes said there’s been a demand for a project like this for several years now.
“If you look at virtually every public works committee over the last, I’d say, six to eight years, traffic-calming and speed-reduction requests have been coming in from every corner of the city,” she said. “That’s great, but we simply can’t afford to do speed tables everywhere. We can’t afford to put sidewalks in everywhere … So, we’ve been looking at different things, and cities all over the world, not just North America, are doing traffic calming and they’re reducing speeds.”
The public service report estimates the project will cost the city approximately $17,115, almost all of which would be for the installation of updated signage.
Lukes said most traffic deaths occur on major corridors that wouldn’t be affected by the speed reductions, so the project is more about improving neighbourhood liveability than safety.
During the pilot, the city will be monitoring several things, Lukes said, including whether the public adheres to the change in speed limits and the opinions of residents in the four neighbourhoods.
Lukes said the city will also be making available a “journey time calculator,” which will show people how their travel might be affected by the slower speed limits.
“As an example, if you’ve got a 50-kilometre speed limit, and if you reduce it to 40 kilometres, it’s going to take them 18 seconds longer. You know, what’s there to say? Calm down. Slow down. It’s not the end of the world,” Lukes said.
The additional time in Lukes’ example is 18 seconds per one kilometre travelled at the lower speed. Lukes added a driver can usually arrive at a main corridor within about that distance, minimizing the impact of driving time.
Speed reduction advocate Daevid Ramey of the Bourkevale 30, a group that has called for the reduced limits since the pandemic saw people take to walking the streets in greater numbers, said he’s excited for the project.
“We’re really excited about how it’s going to have an impact throughout the neighbourhood on safety, on noise level, and just the general feeling of a quiet neighbourhood. It’s great,” he said.
He said in other cities, speed reduction has had many reported benefits.
“It has been shown to be a really effective way to create livable, vibrant, walkable neighbourhoods. And those neighbourhoods (with those qualities) have an increase in property values,” he said.
At press time, the bylaw amendment was set to take its next step through city hall on Jan. 17, when it was due to reach the executive policy committee, the last step before reaching a final vote at council.
Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review West. He is a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, sleuth, sloth, reader of books and lover of terse biographies. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 204-697-7206.