Halifax to ask province to lower residential speed limits

1 / 2
Halifax to ask province to lower residential speed limits

Halifax regional council has agreed to ask the province to reduce speed limits for residential neighbourhoods from 50 km/h to 40 km/h. The councillor for District 9 Halifax West Armdale says street safety is the No. 1 issue in his area.

"This is an opportunity to make our streets as safe as they possibly can be," said Shawn Cleary. "Many cities around the world have reduced their speed limits dramatically, some of them lower than 40 km/h."

'Common-sense, no-brainer idea'

Crosswalk safety advocate Norm Collins supports the idea. He has pushed for changes, such as introducing crosswalk flags, to protect pedestrians. He thinks there will be fewer collisions and far less serious injuries in the collisions that do take place.

"The slower traffic goes, the safer pedestrians and cyclists will be," said Collins. "Lowering the speed limit to me seems like one of those common-sense, no-brainer ideas."

Craig Robinson also welcomes the move. He says his street, Cresthaven Drive, is busy because people use it as a short cut from the Bedford Highway to Kearney Lake Road. Robinson worries because drivers pick up speed on the long, straight street.

"Given that we have a school at one end and a daycare centre, they just go way too fast and don't think of the young people who could be around," said Robinson.

Other measures being considered

The request to ask the province was approved despite a city staff report that says there's not a lot of evidence that drivers actually slow down when you post lower speed limits. The HRM traffic manager says staff are already working on other ways to make the streets safer.

"We have different measures we can consider such as speed humps or mini traffic circles or bump-outs," said Taso Koutroulakis. "It all depends on the characteristic of the street and what would be appropriate."

It's up to the provincial government to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to allow lower speed limits.

With files from CBC's Mainstreet