Victoria revs up speed limit debate

City to craft UBCM resolution asking that province consider lowering speed limit on residential streets

he City of Victoria is hoping to lobby the provincial government to lower the speed limit on residential streets to 40 kilometres an hour, because changes at the municipal level would be too expensive.

When the idea of lowering the default speed limit was introduced last year by Coun. Shellie Gudgeon, she was told the roughly $200 for each signpost along residential streets would be too big a financial burden for the city.

“It was suggested we lobby the province to (lower the limit),” Gudgeon said.

The rationale for lowering speed limits is to create a better balance for pedestrians and cyclists, she said.

Esquimalt has created a hodgepodge of 50, 40 and 30 km/hr speed zones along Esquimalt Road in recent years. Will Wieler, Victoria’s engineering manager, said the expense is nothing to balk at.

“The speed limit has to be identified every time a new cross street comes in,” he said.

“Depending on whether you need to put in a base, or core into the sidewalk, the cost can go up.”

Victoria councillors unanimously supported the motion, directing city staff to craft a resolution to put on the 2013 Union of B.C. Municipalities conference agenda in September.

Gudgeon isn’t convinced the province will embrace the idea, but said the conversation needs to take place.

“There are so many solutions that we as a city could be doing,” she said. “But it’s a worldwide discussion. We need to improve transit and the walkability of our city and reducing the speed limit just sends a powerful message.”

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