Vancouver passes motion on 30km/h limit for side streets and residential areas – Daily Hive

Vancouver passes motion on 30km/h limit for side streets and residential areas - Daily Hive
Vancouver council approves 30 km/h speed limit pilot on side streets
“This is where our kids play street hockey, this is where Im teaching my daughter how to ride a bicycle. This is where people live, its not just a place for cars.”

Coun. Pete Fry during the Vancouver city council vote to consider a motion regarding a pilot for safer, slower streets at city hall on May 14. NICK PROCAYLO / PNG

"Ive been receiving comments and concerns from around the city and the province," said Fry. "Its to address those of us in neighbourhoods where we do have people who dont pay that due care and consideration when theyre driving through our residential side streets, and give us the tools to further control that on a civic level."

Local residential streets in Vancouver — and, potentially, other B.C. municipalities — could soon start to move a little slower.

"For pedestrians or cyclists hit by a car at 20 km/h, your chances of a major life-changing injury or death are about 10 per cent; that increases to about 40 per cent if youre hit by a car at the default speed limit," he told Vancouver back when he first tabled the motion.

Vancouver city council votes to test lower speed limits on residential streets

Vancouver city council voted unanimously Tuesday to move ahead with a pilot project to reduce the speed limit on certain side streets to 30 km/h, down from 50 km/h. Council directed city staff to identify a local street or area in Vancouver for the pilot, and report back with an implementation strategy and proposed road design by later this year.

Through his motion, called Safer Slower Streets: 30 km/h Residential Street Pilot, Fry suggests reducing speed limit from 50 to 30 km/h for local streets in Vancouver.

The motion, entitled “Safer Slower Streets” and initially introduced in April by Green Coun. Pete Fry, also seeks to lobby the provincial government, through the Union of B.C. Municipalities, to change the Motor Vehicle Act to allow municipalities to implement blanket speed zones in residential areas. Fry’s original motion defined “local streets” as those with no centre line.

Fry said forwarding the motion to the Union of BC Municipalities would be to help other municipalities follow suit and to set a default limit when entering the city.

Addressing council Tuesday, Fry commented that some North American cities such as Portland, Ore., and several cities in Europe have similarly already reduced speed limits on side streets, and in those jurisdictions “everyone is fine, and people still get to work on time.”

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall believes cities should adopt a default speed limit of 30 km/h to cut down on pedestrian fatalities. July 6, 2017. (CTV)

Fry was inspired by a visit several years ago to Portland, where he saw community-led, traffic calming measures, he said.

“They went with really simple grassroots approaches to just really remind folks: ‘This is our public realm, this is where our kids play street hockey, this is where I’m teaching my daughter how to ride a bicycle,’ ” Fry said. ” ‘This is where people live, it’s not just a place for cars.’ ”

In Vancouver, staff will work to develop a pilot project and identify a local street, area or areas to test the project and report back with the results.

Many public health officials, in Canada and elsewhere, have for years supported reducing speed limits in urban areas, citing the potential to save lives. A 2016 report from B.C.’s Office of the Provincial Health Officer called for reducing default speed limit on roads within municipalities from 50 km/h to 30 km/h, which it described as “the survivable speed for pedestrians and cyclists.” The report cites research showing pedestrians have a 10-per-cent risk of dying when hit at 30 km/h, compared with an 80-per-cent risk of dying when struck at 50 km/h.

Coun. Melissa De Genova argued for the inclusion of other vehicles in the motion, such as bicycles, that would be required to follow the new speed limit.

Earlier this week, Dr. Emily Newhouse of Vancouver Coastal Health told Postmedia News: “The literature is very clear. When you reduce speed, you reduce injuries.”

It comes after a motion from Coun. Pete Fry, who wanted speed limits on roads without a centre line to be dropped from 50 km/h to 30 km/h.

Fellow Green Coun. Adriane Carr said she predicts many residents are “raring to go to see” a reduced 30-km/h speed limit for side streets in their own neighbourhoods.

“I think you’ll have people jumping at the chance to be the first in line to have the pilot there,” Carr said.

Riley Park resident James Boothroyd agreed with that sentiment, saying he believes most neighbourhoods, including his own, would want to see their own residential streets host the reduced-speed pilot project.

Boothroyd submitted to council a petition in support of the pilot, he said, with the names of dozens of neighbours in and around his area.

Reached Tuesday by phone, Boothroyd said his neighbours, who he described as “a mix of people of different political stripes,” appear to be widely in support of the idea.

The city says it will look into funding for the speed reduction pilot project, including reaching out to ICBC.

“I suspect if you inform Vancouverites about this properly, I think you’d find a significant majority would support this venture,” Boothroyd said.

“It wasn’t the original intent of the motion, but it’s the outcome of the motion,” Fry said. “I’m not sure how we can address the cyclist component because they aren’t registered under the Motor Vehicle Act and they don’t have insurance.”

Last month, The Boston Globe reported the number of fatal traffic crashes in Boston dropped by nearly half over three years after the city lowered speed limits, added protected bike lanes and took other traffic-calming measures. Boston lowered its speed limit in 2017 for city roads from 30 to 25 m.p.h. (a reduction from about 48 km/h-40 km/h), The Globe reported, and city officials are considering lowering the limit further, to 20 m.p.h. or about 32 km/h.

Following the Vancouver council vote, Fry said if the city does eventually move toward lower speed limits on side streets, he believes the priority should be on education over enforcement, and “hopefully enforcement will not be our first goal … and it shouldn’t be necessary.”

“It’s not just about fatalities, it’s about serious life-changing injuries that have devastating effects on families and individuals,” Fry said.

There could potentially be opportunities for traffic enforcement, Fry said, in areas where driving commuters try to quickly “rat-race” through side streets to avoid congestion on arterial roads, particularly during rush hour.

The idea was promoted by Vancouver Green Party Coun. Pete Fry, who wants to see the province drop the default speed limit on local streets.

“It’s a more enjoyable experience for everyone if we take it easy on our side streets,” Fry said.

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Staff will now be looking at specific neighbourhoods to test out the lowered speed limit, hopefully by the end of this year.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Drivers and cyclists will have to slow down on some Vancouver residential roads after the city’s council voted in favour of a pilot project to reduce speed limits from 50 to 30km/h.

An unexpected amendment was put forward by NPA Coun. Melissa De Genova, who said cyclists should be part of it.

The motion, which passed unanimously Tuesday morning, was put forward by Coun. Pete Fry, a decade after his friend suffered serious injuries following a crash.

READ MORE: Advocates want North Shore to lower speed limits from 50 km/h to 30 km/h on residential streets

“My fellow councillors, it really resonated with them. They all have experiences with close calls or concerns about their kid of their pet playing out in the street,” Fry said following the vote. “We’re not going slow the movements of goods and services on our main arterial per say. We really just want to change the conversation about what our residential side streets look like and how we treat them.”

READ MORE: Calgary City Council votes to move forward with study of residential speed limit reduction

It will be up to city staff to decide which streets will be part of the pilot, but Fry said he hopes to have the program up and running before the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) gathering in September.

Councillors also voted to bring a motion to the UBCM to lobby the province to allow B.C. municipalities to set their own local speed limits. Current laws let municipalities reduce speed limits below the standard 50km/h, but only if they put signs up on all impacted streets. Fry says such a method would be “incredibly expensive” to do across Vancouver.

#BREAKING: Vancouver to pilot 30 km/h speed limits on select residential streets.Motion passes unanimouslyMotion also calls for motion to be presented to Union of BC municipalities to lobby province to allow cities to set blanket speed limits on residential streets. #vanpoli pic.twitter.com/SyArYakkYR

“We have seen unfortunate and difficult accidents that have involved pedestrians and cyclists.” said Coun.Melissa de Genova, who put forward the amendment. “”I’ve seen a lot of divisiveness between pedestrians, cyclists and also motor-vehicles and I think that it’s important that we do remember that it’s all vehicles here. But also pedestrians need to do their part.”

Details of how the new speed will be enforced still need to be worked out by city staff, but Fry said he is more concerned with educating drivers to slow down.

“Enforcement comes after education. My hope is that we’ll really start with a proactive education process and then if we need to do enforcement, it might be targeted,” he said.

De Genova acknowledges it may be challenging to enforce speeds for cyclists who do not have speedometers.

“I acknowledge that it’s not going to be an exact science, but if someone realizes when they’re going down a major arterial, they’re actually going above 40 or 50km/h, when they see that coming up on the community police warning signs, I would hope that wouldn’t just be for motor vehicles,” she said.

Those backing the original motion, including cycling groups, say it could save lives, but others believe the new rules could cause confusion.

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