UPDATE: Saanich Council unanimously approved a motion to apply for a 30 kilometre-per-hour speed limit on residential roads that do not have a dividing line.
The motion, brought forward by Councillors Zac de Vries, Rebecca Mersereau and Ned Taylor, was discussed Monday night at Saanich Council chambers, which was proceeded by public comment.
A majority of the public who took part said they were in favour of the 30 km/h speed limit, mostly for safety reasons, as part of a pilot project.
Last year Saanich council voted on a 40 km/h speed limit for the pilot.
Saanich will also be advising other Capital Regional District municipalities that have shown interest in the speed reduction pilot of its move and will advise there are “opportunities to participate in pilots at 30km/hr and 40km/hr in the region”
#Saanich Council has unanimously endorsed a 30km/h neighbourhood street a speed reduction pilot project application!!
— Zac de Vries – Saanich Councillor (@zacdevries) March 23, 2021
Motion carried unanimously! https://t.co/73C2oxL0O2
— Ned Taylor – Saanich Councillor & CRD Director (@CouncllrNTaylor) March 23, 2021
ORIGINAL STORY: The posted speed limit along some streets in the District of Saanich could drop.
Saanich councillors are set to debate a motion that, if approved, would see the speed limit on roads without a centre line drop from 40 km/h to 30 km/h as part of a pilot project.
Councillors Zac de Vries, Rebecca Mersereau and Ned Taylor, who filed a report to council on the matter, say recent data suggests dropping the speed from 40 km/h to 30 km/h reduces the chance of death from 40 per cent to 10 per cent.
“40 really just formalizes the status quo while 30 would move the dial,” said de Vries.
They also say it will increase general pedestrian road use, and use by the most vulnerable road users such as the elderly and those living with conditions like vertigo.
“What we are hearing from residents is that they don’t feel they can walk a lot on these roads, they don’t have sidewalks, they don’t feel they can push their stroller, they don’t feel like they can let their kids play,” de Vries added.
Last year Saanich council voted on a 40 km/h speed limit for the provincial pilot.
Elise Cote, a mother who is part of Better Mobility Saanich, says her family has avoided going on walks and playing in the streets.
“We have had some close calls, people are trying to cut through and whipping around the corner,” said Cote. “We feel constantly exposed and sort of we feel we are in danger.”
Cote says dropping it by only 10 km/h would likely not make an impact
“The difference between 30 and 40 is actually quite large in terms of serious injury and death, it is about a 50 per cent reduction with both combined,” she said. “But more than anything its that culture shift. I don’t want to feel like I’m in the drivers’ space when I’m walking, I want it to feel like a shared space.”
Some, however, feel that speed would be too low, worried it will stir up aggressive driving or non-compliance.
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said the idea of 30 km/h on residential streets has been discussed for years but hasn’t received support from other municipalities over the years. annual Union of B.C. Municipalities conference.
“The idea of thirty has been defeated at the [Union of B.C. Municipalities conference] for 10-20 years,” he said.
Haynes believes 40 km/h is the sweet spot when it comes to speed limits on residential roads.
“On Prospect Lake road, where we have implemented a hard 30 km/h, we are getting tailgating, we are getting leapfrogging,” he said. “It can’t induce more risk. We believe from all the evidence we have gathered, 40 is where the province will land for us.”
However, some have pointed out that Victoria has dropped some speed limits to 30 km/h and that Saanich should too.
“Victoria is not Saanich, we are rural, we have an urban containment boundary, we protected our rural landscape, we are almost 55 per cent rural,” he said.