Edmonton drivers, residents grapple over speed limits on residential streets

More than 20 people shared their thoughts at a public hearing Wednesday on reducing speed limits in Edmonton neighbourhoods. 

'It is time for Edmonton to be brave and choose 30 km/h on our residential streets once and for all'

Edmonton city councillors are grappling with speed limits in residential neighbourhoods. (CBC)

More than 20 people shared their thoughts at a public hearing Wednesday on reducing speed limits in Edmonton neighbourhoods.

City council's community and public services committee is examining two proposals to reduce traffic speed on residential streets.

One proposal lowers speed limits to 30 km/h on local, residential roads within the city's core which includes all neighbourhoods between 111th Avenue and 61st Avenue and 142nd Street and 75th Street.

A second proposal lowers speed limits in all the city's 400 neighbourhoods to 40 km/h.

Neither proposal affects current speed limits on arterial roads.

Here are some of the comments from those who spoke during Wednesday's public hearing at city hall. 

Steve Finkelman, traffic safety advocate 

Steve Finkelman and Jane Cardillo lost their son David in 2014 when he was hit and killed by a car on Whyte Avenue. (CBC)

"This is a welcome change from what we've seen from the Office of Traffic Safety in the past and we want to give credit where credit is due," said Finkelman, whose son was killed while in a crosswalk on Whyte Avenue in 2014.

Finkelman's wife Jane Cardillo was also at the meeting.

"I cannot say for sure that our David would be alive today if the intersection at Whyte Avenue and 101st Street had been a 40-kilometre zone as proposed today," he said.

"If slower speeds did not save our son, they will save someone else."

Sam Saprunoff, citizen

"I'm here to encourage city council to vote against the lowering of speed limits throughout the city until sufficient data is collected and analyzed to determine if there is any real benefit to the proposal," he said.

"I say this as I have been researching this issue for weeks now and have been engaging with the city traffic safety department and found that the premise of this project lacks any real data to support such a radical change in the roadway system."

Council will debate proposals for lowering speed limits on March 9. (Nola Keeler/CBC)

Julie Kusiek, #YegCoreZone advocate

"It is time for Edmonton to be brave and choose 30 km/h on our residential streets once and for all," she said. 

"We know the core zone communities want 30 km/h and we know that Edmontonians outside of the core zone want and deserve slower streets outside their homes as well."

Curtis Treen, Lewis Estates area resident

"The manner of how decisions are being made at council and the data to support those decisions is quite concerning," he said.

"The speed limit considerations and debate will always come back for the need to improve situational awareness by drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. No amount of rules and global changes in speed limits would be expected to provide a marked improvement."   

Council's community and public services committee hosted a public hearing Wednesday for two proposed speed limit changes. (Stephanie Dubois/CBC)

Next steps

Coun. Andrew Knack said more debate is needed. 

"I think there needs to be further discussion. Even though we're not the ones responsible for implementation, I know there's going to be a lot of dialogue around how would you implement this and can it be done in a way that doesn't create that frustration or confusion for folks," Knack said.

City council will debate speed limits at on March 9.


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