Speed limits will once again be on Calgary city hall’s agenda on Wednesday when city administration presents a report on the topic to the Transportation and Transit Committee.
The report recommends that city council make changes to the speed limit bylaw by lowering the unposted speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h within the city limits.
It also recommends that 50 km/h speed limit signs be posted on existing collector roadways if they aren’t already in place.
The final recommendation is for the city to work towards a long-term goal of lowering collector roads to 40km/h and residential roads to 30 km/h.
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The report says that these changes won’t happen quickly, and that buy-in from drivers will be necessary.
“In order to continue to make progress towards the desired long-term state, administration will work with industry partners to revise road standards to ensure that the construction of future roadways and retrofits of existing roadways result in environments where the recommended long-term speed limits would be credible to most drivers,” the report says.
Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison said that making Calgary streets safer should be a priority but that he doesn’t expect any citywide changes to be made quickly.
“There’s going to be a cost associated with this but there’s going to be long-term savings,” said Davison. “What I think is probably going to happen in committee is that we will accept the administration’s recommendations, but then forwarded to our budget talks in November.”
In the report, administration laid out the costs and benefits of several scenarios, balancing the cost of signage and traffic calming measures with the reduction in serious collisions.
The city estimates that changing the signage on residential roads would result in a one-time cost of $2.3 million. It estimates with that change, 90 to 450 crashes could be avoided every year, which includes six to 29 serious or fatal crashes.
It also adds that the reduction in crashes and injuries would save the city $8.1 million a year in “societal” savings.
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Pricier options such as putting permanent traffic calming measures in place across the city drive the cost up to $477 million, but as many as 900 crashes could be avoided.
Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas said none of the options make financial sense for the city right now.
“Even by city hall standards, making the entire city a playground zone has to be the silliest idea I’ve ever heard,” said Farkas. “Not to mention that implementing this would cost millions of dollars. We just don’t have the money or the time for this right now.”
The recommendations will be presented to the Transportation and Traffic Committee on Wednesday.
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