Letter published in Fernwood News (Victoria), December 2008
As a parent, cyclist and pedestrian, I’ve got a bold proposal for neighbourhood safety – lower the speed limit on all City of Victoria streets to 30 km/h.
Unnecessary, excessive, foolish?
The current limit, 50 km/h, enables commuters to race along Fernwood’s borders – Pandora, Cook, Shelbourne, Begbie, and zoom through its heart of Fernwood Road. Safety is imperiled on secondary streets as drivers scramble to navigate their way around the forward-looking street closures of the 1970s (Gladstone, Pembroke, Queen’s and Grant).
Many of these road-warriors are non-Victorians. They race to and from their homes in Oak Bay, Gordon Head, Broadmead, and other Saanich neighbourhoods. Victoria residents deal with the burden on local infrastructure and the hazards to ourselves and our children. Underscoring this irony, Oak Bay’s internal speed limit is 40 km/h.
Several Fernwood organizations and residents have banded together demanding a 30 km/h speed limit along the length of Fernwood Road. This is a great idea that I whole-heartedly support.
I propose taking this idea a step further – working with the City’s Engineering Department and Council to lower the limit on all Victoria streets to 30 km/h. Some details would have to be ironed out – including possible exemptions on a handful of arterial roads – but the general principle has many advantages. The small increase in driving times for city residents – no more than five minutes on a cross-town trip – would be worth it.
Children would be safer as drivers have adequate time to slow down and stop for changing road conditions. Cyclists and pedestrians would be safer as downtown and neighbourhood traffic mellows. Victoria would truly emerge as Canada’s pedestrian and cycling capital – and its most child-friendly city.