Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Resolution to lower default speed limit from 50km/h to 40km/h

I was reading over the agenda for Monday night’s City of Langley Council Meeting and noticed that Council received a letter from the City of Victoria. The City of Victoria is looking to get the Province to lower the default speed on municipal roads from 50km/h to 40km/h. By reducing the default speed limit, there is a significant reduction in the risk of fatalities when pedestrians are struck by motorists; from a 40% chance of death to about 5%. The resolution is:

WHEREAS local governments are concerned about resident safety on municipal streets, and lower vehicle speeds reduce the severity of injuries to pedestrians in vehicle/pedestrian collisions;

AND WHEREAS consistent province-wide speed limits promote driver awareness and ease enforcement between municipalities;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM lobby the Province of British Columbia to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to limit the default speed limit on a highway in a municipality to 40 km and allocate implementation funds to assist municipalities in installing signage for higher speeds where appropriate.

The City of Victoria has already received support from the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, and is looking to get this resolution adopted at the next Union of British Columbia Municipality Convention in September. The UBCM represents the voice of local government in BC.

It’s good that the City of Victoria is spearheading the campaign to get the default speeds change, and I certainly hope that municipalities like the City of Langley can get behind this considering all the pedestrian traffic around its downtown core.

Of course one of the things that this resolution does not talk about is road geometry. If you post a 40km/h speed limits on a big wide road, you will find that people will be speeding all the time. If you design the road with narrower lanes, curb bulges into the road at intersection, include curb parking, and plant trees, people will natural drive slower and the risk of a collation will be reduced.

Maybe the next resolution at the UBCM should be for the Province and local governments to work on an urban road geometry standard that is safer.

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