City of Whitehorse proposing to reduce speed limits in downtown area

·2 min read

The City of Whitehorse is considering reducing speed limits downtown.

The proposal on the city's website outlines the rationale for the speed limit reductions in the downtown area.

Although this recommendation does lower the speed limit, it's more of an alignment with an appropriate safe speed, said Stefan Baer, the transportation engineer for the city.

"It's a speed that recognizes that the adjacent land use context being a downtown area, the presence and probability of encountering vulnerable users such as pedestrians or cyclists," Baer said.

Reducing speed helps increase the field of vision and allows motorists to come to a complete stop more easily and reduces severe crashes, said Baer.

"The reduction is also driven by biophysical considerations of what happens in the event of collisions between vehicles at speed, and the impacts to humans to withstand the energy transfer in the event of a collision," Baer said.

Proposed change

The current speed limits are 50 km/h on most roadways within downtown.

The proposed new speed limits are :

  • 40 km/h on major arterial roadways (including Second Ave. from Two Mill Hill Rd/Fourth Ave. to Lewes Blvd., Fourth Ave. from Second Ave. to Robert Service Way, and Robert Service Way from Second Ave. to Fourth Ave.).

  • 30 km/h on all local streets in the downtown area.

  • All existing school and playground zones will remain unchanged at 30 km/h.

City of Whitehorse
City of Whitehorse

Public consultation

The city plans to bring the proposed speed limit reduction to council in early 2021.

The proposal is currently in the public education phase, and residents who are interested in offering feedback are encouraged to go to the city's website and choose one of the contact options listed here.

All comments provided will be used for consideration, and the city says it will monitor the feedback closely.

"There will be more information on the website when it's coming forward and it will be on the council's agenda when it's coming forward," Baer said

'Short-term solution'

Baer says that reducing speed is just one part of the equation when it comes to road safety.

"It's not the only thing. This is a short-term, easily-implementable and low-cost solution at addressing some of the impacts, and considerations of road safety," he said.

"There's other various considerations that will be looked at at improving safety in the Whitehorse area in general."

More information on the city's proposed speed limit reduction can be found here.