Civic hospital neighbours want lower speed limit

Intensifying north-south traffic just west of downtown Ottawa has area residents petitioning for a speed limit drop 40 km/h to help make the area safer.

Petition seeks 40 km/h speed limit on residential streets instead of 50 km/h

Residents living in the neighbourhood near The Ottawa Hospital's Civic campus are petitioning to lower the area's speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h.

The Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association believes the change would be significant in slowing mainly north-south traffic.

The area, which includes about 2,000 households and the hospital, stretches from Island Park Drive to Highway 417, to Carling Avenue and then to the O-train corridor.

Even though posted speed limits would not enforce changes they are an important part of changing driver's habits, the neighbourhood group told CBC Radio One's Ottawa Morning

"It's almost like for every five per cent reduction in speed you get a 20 per cent reduction in fatalities," said group chairman Peter Eady, referencing a recent study done on the speed limit change throughout various neighbourhoods.

"I think we have to challenge the notion that cars are king and that our streets are merely for moving traffic through."

Parkdale Avenue traffic moving vehicles to side streets

The challenge, Eady added, is the number of commuters moving from Carling to Wellington Street via Parkdale Avenue. Parkdale is the main road through the neighbourhood.

Many vehicles are using other side streets due to Parkdale traffic, he said, and with more condos built in the area the intensification is raising the danger for area residents.

"There is almost little or no impact on commuter times. It's minimal," he added.

"We're not talking Carling, we're not talking areas that should be 60, or 80 or 100 km/h on a 400-series highway, we're talking about residential streets. They're not meant to handle huge volumes of speeding traffic."

Eady said the petition is gaining steam, but can only be signed by area residents.