Lower speed limits, more speed bumps part of new road safety plan in Laval

·2 min read
The scene after a pedestrian was fatally struck crossing Le Corbusier Boulevard in Laval last September. The city is hoping new measures will make its streets safer for everyone.  (Mathieu Daniel Wagner/Radio-Canada - image credit)
The scene after a pedestrian was fatally struck crossing Le Corbusier Boulevard in Laval last September. The city is hoping new measures will make its streets safer for everyone. (Mathieu Daniel Wagner/Radio-Canada - image credit)

The City of Laval announced a road safety plan that would give pedestrians more time to cross and reduce the speed of traffic on Wednesday.

"The idea here is to make the roads safer and friendlier to use for all users of the streets, from the pedestrians, to the cyclists, to the cars," said Ray Khalil, the city's executive committee member responsible for public works and engineering.

Chloë Ranaldi/CBC
Chloë Ranaldi/CBC

One of these measures is to reduce the speed limit by 10km/h on most roads in the city. Main streets will now have a speed limit of 50km/h. Collector and residential streets will see speed limits reduced to 40km/h and 30km/h, respectively.

The announcement comes after two pedestrians in their 80s were fatally struck by drivers last December.

Marcel Saumure walks with his wife, Diane Bernier Saumure, almost every day. He welcomes the lower speed limits.

"We live in a condo on Le Carrefour Boulevard and the speed limit is never, never, respected," he said. He compares his street and two other main streets, Daniel Johnson and Chomedey streets, to racetracks.

Chloë Ranaldi/CBC
Chloë Ranaldi/CBC

However, Khalil says that reducing the speed limit alone would have limited effects. So the city is implementing other measures, such as increasing crossing time at crosswalks, installing more speed bumps around areas like daycares and senior homes and growing the cycling and pedestrian networks by 10 to 15 km each.

It's a plan he says the city has been developing since 2015.

Kevin Manaugh, a professor at McGIll University who specializes in sustainable transportation, is impressed by the proposed changes.

"On paper, the plan looks great. I think they are explicitly acknowledging the importance of changing allocated space, reducing speed limits and not just reducing the posted sign but changing the way that streets are designed," he said.

Chloë Ranaldi/CBC
Chloë Ranaldi/CBC

Ibrahim Mokhari, a student at Montmorency College, says Laval is generally a safe city for pedestrians. He's seen the number of speed bumps increase sharply in recent years.

He says more time at crosswalks will especially benefit seniors and people with reduced mobility.

"It gives them a chance to cross the street as much as others," Mokhari said.

Chloë Ranaldi/CBC
Chloë Ranaldi/CBC

The plan is based on requests and complaints from residents, many of whom are drivers, and issues that police have flagged. Khalil says this input made the city realize that they needed a plan that looked at the issue of road safety as a whole.

The plan passed a first vote at a city council meeting May 2, and Khalil says all the changes are expected to be in place by the end of the year.