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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Lower Speed Limits Under Consideration in Owen Sound

Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz  

Staff preparing reports studying drop to 40 km/h on all residential streets, other traffic calming measures.

Speed limit reductions and other traffic calming measures are being considered in Owen Sound.

At the October meeting of the Operations Committee speed calming measures were discussed and the city's Director of Public Works and Engineering Dennis Kefalas says staff was tasked to prepare two separate reports expected to be complete sometime in early 2020.

Kefalas says one report will focus on a potential reduction in speed limits to 40 km/h on all residential streets in the city, and those adjacent to parks, playgrounds and schools. The current city-wide speed limit is 50 km/h unless otherwise posted, Kefalas notes. 

A second report will study other traffic calming initiatives that could be put in place around the city, such as speed humps, bulb-outs or road-narrowing.

"We've received over the last little while, several complaints about speeding in residential areas," explains Kefalas. "We're seeing an amount that it becomes problematic in trying to deal with all the one-offs. What we want to do is something more comprehensive in terms of looking at the community as a whole."

Kefalas says the city has engaged police services to take up data through use of their electronic sign to help track the amount of vehicles speeding on roads.

He notes there is a growing movement across the country in many communities to reduce speed limits. In a presentation prepared for the discussion at the Operations Committee meeting last month, it was noted Kitchener and London are both undertaking pilot projects to lower city-wide speeds from 50 km/h to 40 km/h. It also highlighted Hamilton's move to lower speeds to 40 km/h in residential neighbourhoods and 30 km/h in school zones.

The report included data suggesting lower speeds are safer for pedestrians and cyclists, with the risk of bodily injury dropping considerably in incidents at speeds of 40 km/h compared to 50 km/h.

Kefalas adds it will likely be sometime in early 2020 when the reports come back to the Operations Committee.

The committee is then expected to develop a traffic calming policy for council's approval based on the recommendations of the two reports.
 

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