Paths for People is strongly in favour of reducing residential speed limits to 30km/h on all residential roads. We were pleased to see a unanimous vote by Edmonton’s City council to approve the reduction in speed limits in playground zones, on September 13, 2017. However, the discussion continues and will be brought back to City Council on April 17th (residential speed limits) and April 18th (playground zones). Lowering the speed limit creates a safer community for all of us, please contact your councillor with your support.
In a city-wide survey, 85% of respondents were in support of lowering speed limits for Playground Zones. And for good reason. Street design is the ultimate tool in making our streets safer by reducing the design speed of a road. However, speed limits are also a valuable tool in helping to reduce collisions. For example, implementation of speed limit signs in school zones has resulted in an average decrease in speed of 12 km/h, reduction in injury collisions by 43% and a reduction in injury collisions with vulnerable road users by 71% (City of Edmonton, 2016). It makes sense. Studies have shown that serious injuries and death result from speed limits of 30km/h and higher. NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) have clearly identified that lowering speed limits will lower injuries and fatalities.
Studies have also shown that it is our most vulnerable that are impacted. In fact, research indicates that 50% of children are hurt before 9am and after 4pm, which led to the extension of playground and school zone hours (City of Edmonton, 2017). On our streets, children are at a disadvantage, due to their developing cognitive and physical abilities. Children perceive traffic very differently and with approximately 26 skills in judgement required to cross a street safely, it presents many challenges for the young and old. For example, limited peripheral vision and a limited sense of danger, along with difficulty in assessing the speed and distance of cars places children at risk. In addition, children are shorter in stature, and their field of vision is often obstructed by parked cars.
Edmonton is the first major Canadian City to adopt Vision Zero, however Calgary has had playground zones for years, there is widespread adoption of 30km/h in Toronto, Vancouver and European cities. If Edmonton is to truly achieve Vision Zero, we need to adopt a policy of 30km/h on all residential streets.
In the News
- September 12, 2017: Opinion: Science backs the safety of 30-km/h limits
- September 7, 2017: New playground speed limit runs into stiff opposition
- June 8, 2017: Edmonton could see hundreds of playground speed limits by year end
CBC News Edmonton
- September 5, 2017: School-zone speed limits extended to include junior highs; Playgrounds limits may be next
- “The whole idea behind playground zones is keeping kids safe where they’re gathering or where they may be distracted playing,” Esslinger said.
- June 9, 2017: New playground speed zones could be coming to Edmonton
- June 2, 2017: Edmonton councillors to debate neighbourhood and playground speed zones
- “The idea that once school is over that [nobody’s] there just seems silly to me, […] speed zones in neighbourhoods should be reduced to 30 km/h, the same as playgrounds.”
Global News Edmonton
- June 8, 2017: Edmonton could see hundreds of 30 km/h zones by 2018
CTV News Edmonton
- June 8, 2017: Report on reduced speed limits near playgrounds finds support for idea in Edmonton
- “The survey found 85 percent of those surveyed were in favour of a reduced speed limit around playgrounds, and 85 percent were in favour or lowering the speed limit around stand-alone playgrounds.”
- September 4, 2017: Slow down for students: new 30 km/h speed limit at junior high schools takes effect Tuesday
- “Coun. Bev Esslinger […] said in May that the next phase could include implementing the 30 km/h maximum near playgrounds and high schools.”
- “Nobert said he would also like to see it rolled out in all residential neighbourhoods.”