Corp Comm Connects

Toronto councillors want lower speed limits on some 50 km/h streets
June 25, 2015
By Victor Ferreira

After the Toronto & East York Community Council voted unanimously to lower speed limits on local residential streets to 30 kilometres per hour from 40 km/h, some members want to go further.

Toronto councillors Janet Davis and Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon, who also sit on the community council, say the 50 km/h speed limits on some streets should be changed to 30 km/h, but were told their motion could not be voted on as they had to give notice.

Davis said she will move the motion at the next community council meeting in September, when some councillors say it is expected to have unanimous support.

She said there are about 20 of these “leftover” streets in ward 31 alone. where speeds were never lowered through bylaws, request, or traffic planning.

“We’ve had a patchwork approach to speed on our streets,” she said. “This is intended to make it clear to anyone driving on small residential streets that the speed limit is 30 (km/h).”

‘We’ve had a patchwork approach to speed on our streets’

McMahon said ward 32 has a few residential streets with 50 km/h speed limits, but she is most concerned about the Ted Reeve subdivision, near Main Street and Gerrard Street East.

“It’s 50 km/h there and it’s completely residential streets,” she said. “Why they would ever put that at 50 is beyond me. The neighbourhood is really concerned.”

The motion, passed Monday, will see speed limits on about 387-km worth of streets reduced to 30 km/h - a move that will see the city replace 4,400 signs at an estimated cost of $1.1 million. The process is expected to begin in the fall, but will continue into 2016, meaning part of the cost would fall in the new budget and require city council approval

City staff said there are another 113.2 km of residential roads with 50 km/h speed limits in the 12 wards that make up the community council. Posting new speed signs on these streets will cost an extra $300,000.

Nazzareno Capano, manager of operational planning and policy for Transportation Services, said replacing the 40 km/h signs would take two to three years with a crew of two people. Putting up 113.2 km of additional signs will only lengthen the process.

“In terms of rolling out, it adds to the time frame of doing this,” Capano said. “We can’t simply divert existing budget because other programs will suffer as a result.

Lowering speed limits does not necessarily mean there will be fewer collisions, he said, adding studies show drivers may not pay much attention to the new limits.