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Calgary votes to reduce speed limits to 40 km/h

Calgary city council will move ahead with reducing the unposted speed limit within city limits, despite calls to put it to a plebiscite question.

In Monday’s Strategic Meeting of Council, councillors voted 10-4 in favour of reducing the unposted speed limit in Calgary to 40 km/h from the current 50 km/h.

This has been an ongoing and somewhat divisive debate in Calgary that pitted pedestrian safety and the idea of slowing down city traffic against each other.

Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland said it’s been frustrating hearing the misinformation returning to him from the public about the city being turned into a playground zone.

“Do we serve our people appropriately if we feed them misinformation,” he asked.

“We can’t do that, we need to be telling them the full story, not a part story.”

Administration once again reviewed some of the safety aspects of a speed reduction, also citing the $2.3 million cost to make signing changes around the city.

Coun. Peter Demong, who brought forward the idea of putting the question to a plebiscite, said it wasn’t a matter of abdicating responsibility.

“A question to the public is not asking them to decide,” he said.

“It’s simply asking their opinion as being probably one of the most accurate polling options that we have.”

The implementation date of this is May 31, 2021.

Evidence based decision, said Mayor Nenshi

Mayor Nenshi said he’d be enthusiastically supporting the measure to reduce speed limits.

“I believe in evidence-based decision making. And I believe that the evidence on this is very clear that we have the opportunity here to reduce costs to society, we have the opportunity here to save injury, and we have the opportunity here to save lives,” said Nenshi.

He said he even Google ‘child collisions Calgary’ and while two of them happened on heavier traffic routes, three of them were on residential roads. Those are who this protects.

Coun. Druh Farrell said it’s an emotional topic.

“We have a responsibility to make our cities safer. So, this is a small step. Let’s make it,” she said.