Halifax neighbourhood to get lower speed limit

People who live in the Fairmount area of west-end Halifax may have to ease off the gas pedal to avoid a speeding ticket starting this week.

The neighbourhood is becoming the city's first 40 km/h residential driving zone.

According to provincial law, the lowest maximum speed on any residential street is 50 km/h, but municipalities can apply for lower speed limits if they can convince traffic experts the conditions are right for a 40 km/h maximum.

Schools can have a 30 km/h zone along a section of road leading to and from the school, but this is the first time an entire Halifax neighbourhood will be subject to a 40 km/h maximum.

The current maximum in the neighbourhood is 50 km/h, but according to some of the people who live there, many drivers go through the area much faster than that.

Jill McDonald lives almost directly across the street from Springvale Elementary School. She often worries about her children crossing Downs Avenue.

CBC

"People fly down the street," she said. "My children can't even cross the street to get to their school because of the way people speed... so I think it's an excellent decision."

City crews are expected to start posting the new speed limit signs on Wednesday.

That's good news to Ed Lenaghan, who has lived in the neighbourhood since 1960. The 90-year-old tries to walk every day to stay healthy but he worries about the way some people drive.

"They just don't have a thought of anybody else," he said.

The head of the Halifax Christian Academy, which is located next to Springvale Elementary school, was also sold on the plan.

"It's a great idea," Shaun Alspach told CBC News. "I mean ultimately we've got two school's worth of students and we want them to be safe as best we can, so I'm supportive of it."

During the fall sitting of the Nova Scotia Legislature, municipal officials and others urged the McNeil government to allow individual municipalities to decide the speed limits within their borders. But the governing Liberals refused to make the change to their Traffic Safety Act.

In 2016, the province's Road Safety Advisory Committee recommended against lower posted speed zones because "simply posting a speed limit below 50 km/h is not effective in lowering travel speeds."

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