Ontario considering reducing residential speed limits
Published Thursday, January 29, 2015 5:21PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 29, 2015 6:39PM EST
Your morning commute might soon be a little slower.
Ontario is looking at lower speed limits in residential areas across the province.
Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca has announced the province will hold consultations with municipalities about possibly lowering the default speed limit from 50 to 40 kilometres per hour.
The default speed limit applies to any street that doesn’t already have a posted speed limit sign.
A coroner’s review in 2010 urged the province to allow municipalities to lower the default speed limit to 40 km/h. One of the options the province is now considering is to simply make it law for all municipalities.
Del Duca credits Ottawa Centre MPP and Minister of Community Safety Yasir Naqvi for pushing the idea forward. “Data tells us that… just a reduction of ten kilometres an hour makes a significant difference in terms of saving a life,” says Naqvi.
Reaction to the idea is mixed. One motorist on a side street in Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood said “I think it’s a great idea, especially on this street. “ While a pedestrian on the same street said “It’s just too slow. There’s no reason for it. It would decrease the efficiency of traffic in neighbourhoods.”
Andrea Ross, a pedestrian, is all for the idea but only if it can be enforced. “It would be fabulous if they enforced it,” she says. “Because right now they zip along and I’m sure they’re doing a lot more than fifty.”
Cities already have the power to post lower speed limits. But it often requires local citizens to start a petition, and then the municipality has to pay for and post signs on each street. For a city the size of Ottawa that could run into the millions of dollars.
If the province adopts the proposal to lower the default limit, those steps will no longer be necessary.