A fast track for requests to lower speed limits on residential streets has been endorsed by the City of Ottawa's transportation committee.
The proposal would allow the speed limit to be lowered automatically from 50 to 40 kilometres per hour if 60 per cent of residents on a given street agree. The new process is much quicker and easier than the current process for lowering speed limits. The policy will go to city council for final approval on Oct. 28.
A staff report had originally recommended that 75 per cent of residents on a street agree before the speed limit could be lowered.
Coun. Marianne Wilkinson proposed Wednesday that the threshold be dropped to 60 per cent, saying 75 per cent was unreasonably high. Other councillors agreed.
Coun. Steve Desroches said the new policy would empower residents.
"They want us to listen to them they want control over their street and I think we should give it to them," he said.
But Coun. Shad Qadri wasn't sure how much of a difference it would make, saying police have trouble enforcing 50 kilometre and 60 kilometre per hour speed limits as it is.
Ottawa police Sgt. Mark Gatien confirmed that many police officers give drivers a 10 kilometre cushion before ticketing them for speeding. But he added he wouldn't hesitate to stop a driver if there was an "issue" and educate them about why a given street is a 40 km/h zone.