Lower residential speed limits needed
Thomas Hasek / Burnaby Now
October 2, 2013 07:54 AM
Earlier this month the Union of B.C. Municipalities voted down a proposal from Victoria to lower the speed limit in urban areas to 40 km/hr from 50. The prevailing arguments seemed to be that it would bog down traffic too much and is not appropriate in many localities. Fair enough, but what about trying to introduce a lower limit on strictly residential streets and possibly even raising it on arterials? Imposing a one-size-fits-all rule for the whole province may not be feasible, but at the municipal level we could surely try and reduce vehicular carnage. I note that Vancouver has a 30 km/hr limit on designated bike routes, and perhaps that could be applied in Burnaby as well.
I happen to live on a bike route, and along my street I have seen cars reaching over 100 km/hr in the two blocks (250 metres) between stop signs, even if drivers don't ignore the stop signs altogether. The uncontrolled intersection between the signs finally had stop signs installed in one direction a few years ago after much lobbying and several major collisions, one near fatal. I realize that speeding is as much an issue of enforcement as regulation, but if regulation is stringent, enforcement is readily enhanced.
What I would propose is a 30 km/hr speed limit on strictly residential streets, particularly those that are less than two traffic lanes wide with parked cars on both sides, like the newly paved and curbed roads that now appear to be standard. Designated - and wider - arterials, no more than about 500 metres from any residential property, might have their speed limit raised to 60 km/hr to compensate, and traffic would likely move faster on average. Major arterials like Kingsway or Willingdon Avenue, particularly in rush hour, might even have the speed limit raised to 70 km/hr to reflect the reality of traffic when the curb lanes are clear.
Thomas Hasek, via email
© Copyright 2013