Nova Scotia

Speed limit lowered in Halifax neighbourhood where cars 'fly down the streets'

The speed limit in Halifax's Uniacke Square neighbourhood is dropping to 40 km/h from 50 km/h in an effort to improve road safety in the municipality.

'It can get really, really bad,' says Uniacke Square resident Kyle Hamilton

The speed limit is dropping to 40 km/h in Halifax's Uniacke Square neighbourhood. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

Cars driving through Halifax's Uniacke Square neighbourhood will need to slow down after the city reduced the speed limit in the area by 10 kilometres per hour.

It's part of the city's initiative to improve road safety and move toward zero fatalities and injuries for all road users, according to a news release from the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Late last month, HRM council proposed doubling the city's traffic calming budget after several councillors raised concerns about speeding and road safety.

Streets with reduced speeds, including Brunswick and Maitland, are inside the highlighted area of the map. (Halifax Regional Municipality)

The boundary for the new speed limit goes north-south from North to Cogswell streets and east-west from Gottingen to Barrington streets. But the speed limit outside the boundary on those four main roads is not changing.

Community reaction

"To be honest, I'm not sure how helpful it will be if Gottingen Street isn't also changed," said Sarah Griffin, who works at the St. George's Youth Net on Maitland Street.

The non-profit organization runs free programming for kids in the community. Griffin said staff walk about 30 students over from nearby Joseph Howe Elementary for after-school programs every day.

Joseph Howe Elementary is outside the boundaries of the new speed limit. Griffin says she crosses Gottingen Street every day with about 30 students to take them to Youth Net's after-school program. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

"There's often a lot of speeding, and we directly cross Gottingen Street on our way here every day. It's definitely not a crosswalk that we let the kids do alone. We always walk with them," she said.

Kyle Hamilton, who lives in Uniacke Square, agreed that speeding on Gottingen Street is a problem.

However, Hamilton said he's glad to see the changes coming to the other streets because drivers often cut through his neighbourhood to avoid traffic. 

"We've had people that fly down the streets and have no regard for the kids that are crossing the roads," he said.

"It causes other problems because a fight breaks out and parents come outside, everyone gets angry. It's messed up. I've seen some really crazy things over people driving down this road. It can get really, really bad."

Hamilton, who's lived in the neighbourhood for about 7 years, would like to see the speed limit further reduced. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

Hamilton, who's lived in the area with his young son for about six years, said he thinks the speed limit should be lowered to 25 kilometres per hour at most.

More speed reductions to come

Speed limits on public roads, which default at 50 kilometres per hour, are legislated by the province. But under the Motor Vehicle Act, the municipality can request a reduction in speed limits.

The city is working to identify other neighbourhoods where a similar reduction could be implemented.

Crews will begin posting new speed limit signs in the Uniacke Square neighbourhood in the coming days, with work expected to be completed by next week.

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