A Tuesday meeting of Saskatoon city council’s transportation committee will be taking up the controversial issue of lowering speed limits.
The committee meets Tuesday afternoon at city hall to discuss a proposal from administration to bring speed limits down to 30 km/h on residential roads.
While reaction has been largely negative since news of the proposal first broke, City of Saskatoon acting transportation director Jay Magus said the idea really came from years of complaints from citizens.
“It stemmed from the fact that people have a common complaint we receive is that: ‘there’s speeding in my street,'” he said.
Magus said the city checks vehicle speeds in neighbourhoods where there are complaints and that often ends up making people even more annoyed.
“We measure the speeds, we have tools that can do that, we report back that ‘actually no, they’re going close to 50 km/h, there’s no issue,’ and people are upset with that. They still feel that the speed is too fast.”
He said it’s been an ongoing problem for several years.
“In the last four, five years we’ve had 70 or 80 public meetings and this always comes up. In reaction to those public meetings we’ve done 500 speed measurements.”
Magus said the issue has cropped up in cities across Canada, including Toronto, where parts of the city already have residential speed limits of 30 km/h. Magus said Edmonton is also considering a similar move.
“A lot of us are in the same boat across Canada, to be frank, and kind of the trend is to lowering the speed limit on residential streets.”
He stressed that any lowering of speeds was only being proposed for purely residential roads.
“I would hope that people give us a chance to engage with them and talk to them and explain it’s really just the streets in front of your house, in front of your neighbour’s house,” he said.
Along with speeds limits, Magus said there was also some discussion around the city’s 15-year-old policy on school and playground zones. He said this was not necessarily a case where anyone was talking about adding more of the zones.
“Are school zones needed for high schools? Current practice indicates that they’re not, in other cities.”
Magus said Tuesday afternoon’s committee session would be a chance for councillors to weigh in.
“We’re just simply checking in with council to see if we’re going down the right track and, for sure, get their feedback.”