EDITORIAL: Speed limits need a rethink

The debate around the current 50 km/h default speed limit in British Columbia will be front and centre at next month’s UBCM

The debate around the current 50 km/h default speed limit in British Columbia, and by extension, much of North America, will be front and centre at next month’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver.

While UBCM won’t release its final list of resolutions until the week before the event, City of Victoria councillors are confident their unanimous suggestion to lower the default speed limit to 40 km/h is an idea worth their counterparts’ time.

The “us versus them mentality” that tends to flare up between drivers and alternative transportation advocates is a misguided and nonconstructive approach, particularly when one examines the majority of Capital Region community plans that call for greater emphasis on cycling and pedestrian-friendly greenways.

But will lowering the default speed limit on residential streets by 10 km/hr really serve that end?

B.C. Coroner Barb McLintock, who also sits on the Capital Regional District’s traffic safety commission, notes there hasn’t been a pedestrian or cyclist fatality on a residential road in the Capital Region for five years, although she admits injury statistics are more difficult to calculate.

But safety is only one piece of a complex puzzle that hasn’t been rethought since the 1950s, when speed limits were set primarily to fan the embers of urban sprawl.

The CRD traffic commission, comprised of police, public health, school and government officials, plans to issue a public stance on lowering the default speed limit in September just before the UBCM convention.

Yet even if the speed limit resolution fails or the province chooses to ignore it, Victoria councillors will likely still push on with a 40 km/h pilot study in James Bay, something the local neighbourhood association has been requesting for nearly two decades.

And as Victoria Coun. Shellie Gudgeon points out, speed limits on main transportation arteries like Blanshard Street could even be raised to accommodate vehicles.

A 40 km/h default speed limit won’t create a cohesive approach to shared road space overnight, but it is an effective conversation starter to rethink 70 years of unencumbered car-centric infrastructure development.

Local groups like the Saanich-based Community Advocates for Reduced Speed are doing well to spur on debate across the Capital Region, whose municipalities should join Victoria in advocating for a lower default speed limit across B.C.

 

Just Posted

Comox Valley Food Bank – 35 years of feeding the Valley

The Comox Valley Food Bank turns 35 years old on Dec. 19,… Continue reading

Kingfisher Resort unveils newly renovated Ocean Courtyard Wing

The $2 million renovation was completed at the end of November

New Cumberland fire engine long overdue, says fire chief

The prospect of a new fire hall delayed the order as existing engine bays were too small

BC Hydro increasing flow in Puntledge River

BC Hydro is warning the public to stay away from the Puntledge… Continue reading

Equipment donation helps North Island College’s trades expansion

Allan and Donna Edie recently provide more than $273,000 in equipment to college

Retired B.C. teacher a YouTube Sudoku sensation

A retired Kelowna teacher has amassed quite the following online by teaching the art of solving a Sudoku puzzle.

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Girl, 6, lured from elementary school, sexually assaulted: Vancouver police

Police are seeking dashcam footage from nearby Sexsmith Elementary School in South Vancouver

Isfeld tops Vanier by five

The Isfeld Ice and Vanier Towhees senior boys basketball teams engaged in… Continue reading

B.C. Liberals call for outside audit of Speaker’s office, NDP refuses

Auditor General implicated in Darryl Plecas accusations of impropriety

Three victims of ex-ski coach Bertrand Charest suing Alpine Canada

The victims are also seeking $150,000 each in punitive damages

Trudeau names four new senators, filling every seat in the Senate

Trudeau has appointed 49 senators since becoming prime minister and will have the chance to appoint more in 2019

B.C. member of parliament takes feds to task on opioid crisis

‘Too many families are tragically losing parents, siblings and children to the opioid crisis.’

Most Read