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A review by the administration had recommended lowering the speed limit on local residential and collector streets to 40 kilometres per hour from 50.
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Photo by Kayle Neis /Saskatoon StarPhoenix
A city council committee has voted against lowering speed limits on some Saskatoon streets.
A speed limit review that recommended dropping speeds to 40 kilometres per hour on residential and collector streets was up for debate by the transportation committee on Tuesday.
Councillors on the committee voted it down.
Coun. Hilary Gough voted in favour of reducing speeds.
“It shouldn’t take knowing somebody who’s been struck by a vehicle to be concerned about this data,” she said.
Councillors Zach Jeffries, Randy Donauer, David Kirton and Bev Dubois opposed the reduction, many of them citing the costs and affects on transit service.
The estimated cost was pegged at $400,000 to $500,000, mostly for signage, which did not include education campaigns or impacts to transit.
Coun. David Kirton moved to have the administration report back on a speed watch program in which volunteers with radar guns would take down licence plate numbers of speeding vehicles in their communities. The information would be shared with police, who would follow up letters to the speeders. That motion passed.
The city received 21 letters about the potential speed limit change, the vast majority of which were opposed.
“About all it would do is increase speeding ticket revenue. And it will surely earn Saskatoon a bad reputation with visitors. This city has issues of far greater significance than another speed limit discussion,” wrote Ken Schultz.
Others were critical of the administration for how it handled public feedback in its review.
“Along with the majority of Saskatoon residents, I do not support the reduction of residential speed limits. The issue is not that 50km/h is too fast (in fact the majority of people driving on residential streets are well below that speed). The issue is that a small minority of drivers simply ignore the 50km/h limit,” wrote Glenn Stephenson.
The city did two surveys on this topic. In an online survey open to anyone with internet access, 66 per cent of respondents were opposed to lowering the speed limit and 34 per cent were in favour. However, in a random, statistically-relevant survey, 52 per cent of respondents said they were in favour of lowering the limit and 48 per cent were opposed.
One resident wrote in about the environmental impact of lowering the limit.
“Saskatoon has adopted a lower emissions plan and action. The reduction of speed limits certainly fits in that direction. Other cities in Canada have been lowering speed limits, Saskatoon can do the same,” wrote Don Kossick, pointing out that reducing speeds for cars lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
Coun. Zach Jeffries asked why a pilot project wasn’t an option.
Six cities have recently dropped their speed limits, including Calgary, Edmonton, St. Albert, Hamilton, Mississauga and Toronto.
The city is still exploring what to do about school, playground and senior zones.
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