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Calgary councillors pitch 30 km/h speed limit in residential areas

As drivers slow down for students returning back to school, some Calgary councillors are proposing 30 kilometre per hour speed limits in residential area across the city.

The motion, which will be debated at the Sept. 10 regular council meeting, would ask administration to come up with a plan to make 30 km/h the default speed limit in residential areas, and report back with that plan by the fall of 2019.

It would primarily be enforced on small residential (neighbourhood) routes and not area collector routes that drive traffic to the city’s main arterial roads.

Further, the notice of motion states that along with the change to the speed limit, that it’s “to enhance the new limit through short-term, quick-build traffic calming measures at high priority locations, medium-term updates to street design policies and guidelines, and long-term consistent funding for street safety improvements, thus helping to reduce situations that encourage speeding and unsafe behaviour in the first place.”

In a release from Coun. Druh Farrell’s office, the Ward 7 Councillor said reduced speed limits are needed for the safer streets Calgarians are demanding.

“Considering the $120 million annual societal cost of pedestrian-involved collisions, this is a sensible investment in making walking safer,” said Farrell in the release.

Coun. Jeff Davison, who is also putting his name to the motion, made clear in the release that the intent is not to increase the time of Calgarians’ commutes.

“What we are talking about are side streets that make up a small fraction of your commute,” said Davison.

“These are residential streets and some minor collectors. We are not looking at roads like Bow Trail, Harvest Hills Boulevard, Canyon Meadows Drive, 52nd Street, or 16th Avenue. We want to
make streets safer where you live and where your children play.”

The motion has six councillors and the mayor sponsoring it, suggesting widespread support, although eight yes votes would be needed to pass the motion.

The councillors who have sponsored the motion are Druh Farrell, Gian-Carlo Carra, Jeff Davison, George Chahal, Evan Woolley, Ray Jones and Mayor Naheed Nenshi.