Work is being done by City of Powell River to examine speed limits on city streets.
At the January 18 committee of the whole meeting, councillor and committee chair Maggie Hathaway outlined an email from provincial minister of transportation and infrastructure Rob Fleming around section 146 of the Motor Vehicle Act, which establishes a default speed limit of 50 km/h on municipal roads unless the municipality wants to specify otherwise. She said the correspondence outlined different ways this could be accomplished.
“There has been some discussion around this table on lowering speed limits, so it looks like they are making it an easier process,” said Hathaway.
Councillor CaroleAnn Leishman asked if there was direction to staff last year on speed limits that corresponded with some crosswalk issues.
Chief administrative officer Russell Brewer said there were two items. One was direction regarding crosswalks and a report is in the process of being prepared. He added that there was also direction on bringing back a report looking at reducing speeds throughout the city as a whole.
“We have some survey engagement work planned through participatpr.ca that will be launched later this month or early February,” said Brewer. “It will likely have a map that is similar to other engagements you’ve seen, where folks can drop a pin with some comments, concerns or questions. We’ll use the results of that to build the report and bring it back to you.”
Councillor Rob Southcott said he was happy to hear Brewer’s comments because there have been calls for a long time to consider generally reducing speeds on side streets.
“It’s just a never-ending topic that keeps coming forward to us, so I’m really grateful the work is being done, and it was reassuring to read the letter from the minister as well,” said Southcott.
The committee voted to note and file the correspondence.
Fleming, in his correspondence, outlined that municipalities can establish a bylaw directing the rate of speed at which a person may drive or operate a motor vehicle on a highway in the municipality. He added that signs that have been erected or placed limiting the rate of speed of motor vehicles driven or operated on a designated portion of the highway is another mechanism.
Fleming highlighted City of Nelson, which has a long-standing blanket speed of 40 km/h; it is enforced using perimeter signage at highway entry points into the community. He said cities of Vancouver and Surrey have each recently implemented projects using a combination of street markings, gateway and speed limit signs to inform drivers about new slow streets initiatives and reduced speed limits of 30 or 40 km/h as applicable on specific neighbourhood roads.