Reducing speed limits on residential streets

Consultation has concluded

Staff have begun a review looking at reducing the speed limit in residential neighbourhoods from 50 km/h to 40 km/h.

Studies show that speeding is a significant contributing factor leading to severe injuries and fatal collisions worldwide. The likelihood of survival in a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian is approximately 15 per cent when the vehicle is travelling at 50 km/h. However, the likelihood of survival increases to 75 per cent when the vehicle is travelling at 40 km/h or below.

Higher speeds not only increase the risk of severe injuries and fatal collisions, but also increase the risk of a collision happening in the first place. Higher speeds increase the distance required to stop safely by reducing both the braking time and the driver’s reaction time available to prevent a collision from happening. A stopping distance of approximately 85 metres is required for a vehicle travelling at 60 km/h, 63 metres for a vehicle travelling at 50 km/h, and 45 metres for a vehicle travelling at 40 km/h.

City arterial roads and regional roads which move large volumes of people and goods are not included in this review. Examples of local residential neighbourhood roads included in the review are Eastbridge Boulevard, Westvale Drive, Keats Way, and Northlake Drive, to name a few. Examples of roads not included in the review include Columbia Street, Weber Street, Westmount Road and Fischer-Hallman Road.

Staff have begun a review looking at reducing the speed limit in residential neighbourhoods from 50 km/h to 40 km/h.

Studies show that speeding is a significant contributing factor leading to severe injuries and fatal collisions worldwide. The likelihood of survival in a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian is approximately 15 per cent when the vehicle is travelling at 50 km/h. However, the likelihood of survival increases to 75 per cent when the vehicle is travelling at 40 km/h or below.

Higher speeds not only increase the risk of severe injuries and fatal collisions, but also increase the risk of a collision happening in the first place. Higher speeds increase the distance required to stop safely by reducing both the braking time and the driver’s reaction time available to prevent a collision from happening. A stopping distance of approximately 85 metres is required for a vehicle travelling at 60 km/h, 63 metres for a vehicle travelling at 50 km/h, and 45 metres for a vehicle travelling at 40 km/h.

City arterial roads and regional roads which move large volumes of people and goods are not included in this review. Examples of local residential neighbourhood roads included in the review are Eastbridge Boulevard, Westvale Drive, Keats Way, and Northlake Drive, to name a few. Examples of roads not included in the review include Columbia Street, Weber Street, Westmount Road and Fischer-Hallman Road.

Please share your comments here.

I have no issues with the speed limit being reduced but it won't matter unless enforced. I see drivers going down Bluevale Street or Lincoln doing a lot more than the posted 50, so it is a great idea only if people abide by it. Drivers have no concept of speed limits. The speed limit is what they think it is and drive that. The only outcome I see is that if the speed limit posted is 50, they tend to drive over by 10, so going 60 in a 50. If you lower it to 40, will they do 50 or still do the 60 or more? Just need further enforcement

livinintheloo 8 months ago

This is a great idea! i support lowering the speed limit to 40km/h on all our local neighourood streets. Some people in the comments below clearly did not read the proposal as it clearly states arterial roads such as columbia street, weber street westmount road etc! would not be lowered. SO for those people who do not understand what that means, the city is proposing to lower the speed limits in the residential local streets not the major streets. IE you can still speed on the major roads just not welcome in the residential areas! Great job waterloo staff :)

KWresident83 8 months ago

This is a poor suggestion. It will be universally ignored, even by most of the people advocating for it here. When you do hear of pedestrians being hit by cars in Waterloo (without even getting into fault) it is almost always on the city arterial roads or regional roads which will be exempted from this measure. Why would we need to reduce the speed limit on a road like Northlake Drive, which has sidewalks on BOTH sides of the road. Not to mention the volume of cars parked on the road at any given time and the curving nature of the road make it difficult to even do 50KM for prolonged periods anyway. This is a city staff solution to a non existent problem.

GW987654 8 months ago

Please leave the speed limit at 50km/h (40km/h for school zones) and enforce the existing limits with photo radar so everyone who says they obey speed limits will realize they don't. I admit I ALWAYS travel at least 5km/h to 15km/h over the speed limit, rarely pass anyone and constantly have drivers behind me. If the speed limit is set at 40km/h for dead end neighbourhoods then all streets with houses such as Columbia St., Weber St. etc. deserve the same respect to have a 40km/h limit. A 40km/h road is not just for privileged neighbourhoods.

Waterloo Mark 8 months ago

If we can get one person to think differently, and the outcome of a speeding ticket has a greater impact, then why not. We are all in too much of a hurry. We forget about our our neighbors, children, people enjoying a walk, bike ride on residential streets and any reminder is a good one. It may deter some from travelling these streets known as a short cut. Changing behavior does not happen overnight, but perhaps adds a dimension of responsibility. I live in Conservation Meadows, and Lake Louise is an example of excessive speeds, even with roundabouts and speed bumps. Let's try to calm that traffic down a bit more.

Lknarr 8 months ago

I also like on Woolwich Street/falcon ridge area and fully agree with my neighbours who have posted on here. I think it’s a great idea to lower the speed limits and would further support traffic calming measures to defer speeders like “brad from lakeshore”

DD89 8 months ago

There was no option for comments on the form. People don't follow posted speeds so reducing an area to 40 has little impact unless its enforced. In live on Bluevale right across from St. Agnes catholic school. It's posted 40 but people whip up and down this street. If you want to reduce speeds in areas like this you need to have speed bumps or something similar. Even having those signs that show your speed could have some impact but just changing the posted speed won't.

Geekmom 8 months ago

This is a dumb proposal. :) I read the comments. With the exception of Waterloo Family Guy, they're all using emotional reasoning which we all know is invalid. Lowering the limit won't inhibit those who are already driving too fast. it'll just make speeders out of the rest of us because like hell i'm going to crawl along at 40kmh. All the comments in favor make the case it's necessary because people are speeding. This a non sequitor. If you're mad that people aren't abiding a 50kmh limit the answer isn't 40kmh, it's enforcement of 50kmh. THE PROBLEM ISN'T PEOPLE GOING 50kmh. The problem is people going 70kmh. I'd be happy to see more speed enforcement in residential neighbourhoods. I'd not be happy to see lower limits. Lowering the limit unnecessarily low achieves nothing if you aren't enforcing it. I actually had no idea what the speed limit is, but i tend to go about 50kmh because it's a safe speed. I pass people going 40kmh. 40kmh is PAINFULLY slow. And at the end of the day, 5% of drivers will be be speeders regardless where you set the limit. Don't set the limit based on 5%. Set a limit that makes sense for 100% of drivers and then have enforcement target the 5%. Let's be rational about this.

Brad in Lakeshore 8 months ago

Removed by moderator.

Brad in Lakeshore 8 months ago

I think it’s a great idea to reduce the speed on all residential streets. But It must be followed up with police monitoring the speed of drivers and ticketing the speeders and distracted drivers. I wish the city would have considered this suggestion when they were recommending speed humps and roundabouts on Lake Louise Blvd. They ‘traffic calming’ measures have littered our streets and have not reduced the speed of drivers.

TD 8 months ago

Hi,Please consider Woolwich street- university avenue intersection till kiwanis park intersection. The cars: bikes go with very high speed - sometimes they clock at 90kmph.

Akash 8 months ago

Pastern Trail by St. Matthews school is already 40 km/hour. However, the parents of the children attending this school who insist on dropping off/picking up their children are the majority of the speeders within this neighbourhood. They speed down streets because they are in a hurry and want to get a spot as close as possible to the school. They zoom in and out of driveways, do 3 point turns and U-turns to change direction and line up on the street to pick up/drop off (as a car pulls out, another pulls in). These drivers are usually blocking or using resident driveways, frustrating residents trying to enter/exit their own driveways. The chances of someone being seriously injured is more likely to occur with drivers performing these behaviours then speed. As was the case for 5 years old, Camila de Almeida Torcato who died being pinned between two cars in Toronto being picked up from school in Toronto.https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/5-year-old-cancer-survivor-killed-by-empty-suv-outside-toronto-school-1.3761410University Avenue is 50 km from RIM park to Bridge Street, however I have yet to see anyone at any given time do 50 km on this road. Trying to exit Pastern Trail or Auburn Drive is like trying to enter the Indy 500. With both University Avenue, Pastern Trail and Auburn Drive and I’m sure everywhere else in the City, unless there is enforcement of speed by Police or drivers behaviours as indicated above by By-law, is a waste of time and tax payers money. Speed bumps, pedestrian refuge areas and narrowing roadways using curbs is not effective.

Deaf Ears 8 months ago

I think this is an excellent idea. When the speed limit is 50, many people drive 60. Police rarely issue speeding tickets for 10 kms or less over. If tge speed limit was reduced to 40 km many people will still drive 50 kms. But those driving 60 kms will be issued speeding tickets for 20 kms over the speed limit. If folks understand the above, many people will slow down.

Bonnie Schiestel 8 months ago

I also live in Woolwich Street in Waterloo and this is a HUGE concern especially for the houses facing the woolwich street. Cars go so fast and sometimes I feel they don’t care about the kids playing around. I second what ‘90H’ said in her review(the first one to review).It would be great if you monitor woolwich street and consider to lower the limits.ThanksSv

Sv 8 months ago

Lowering limits is a good start but it will do little when the streets are designed to encourage high speeds. On Keats Way between Amos and University, I don't feel safe crossing the street myself, let alone with my kids. The sign says 40 but I see cars going 80 there on a daily basis. True, most cars go only 60, but it only takes one to kill you or your child. The street is 15 metres wide. That's the width of 8 cars. Why does it need to be that wide? On a street this wide, people will drive fast no matter what signs you put up or how you paint the lanes. This is one example but the whole city has many places like this. The streets are designed to encourage higher speeds, so drivers go fast, regardless of the limit. If we want safe streets, we need to design and build them with safety in mind.

O 8 months ago

I live on Auburn Drive and regularly see cars doing 60 or 70 coming down my road. I'm careful to drive exactly the speed limit (50) on my street, past the kids playground, I've had drivers tailgate me all the way home and then accelerate away when I turn in into my driveway. If drivers were accustomed to 40 being the speed limit once they get off an artery hopefully that would lower the outlier speeds to 50 or 60 instead of 60 or 70.I'd love to be able to drive 40 in my neighbourhood without fear of road rage from drivers behind me.

My Kids Aren't Always Rational 8 months ago

I thought the limit on residential roads already was 40. I imagine I'm not the only one who doesn't know what the speed limit is when it isn't posted. Just lowering the limit wouldn't be enough without a public education campaign at the very least.

AD 8 months ago

University Avenue and the Eastbridge neighbourhood streets have the same speed limit. University is four lanes with a meridian, no parked cars. Eastbridge Blvd is two lanes with parked cars, driveways, children playing, pets, etc. Either raise University or lower the neigbhourhood streets - or do both. Do we need a fatality before taking corrective measures?

Glen M 8 months ago

Residential feeder streets(such as Eastbridge Ave) should have a 40kmh limit. If you lower any of the streets, however, you will have to arrange with the region and the police to make sure these streets are patrolled and radar is enforced regularly. If not, you can lower the speed limit to 5kmh if you choose, but the speeders will not obey. I previously mentioned to a Waterloo councillor from Eastbridge that I would like more radar patrols and perhaps to lower the speed limit on Eastbridge Ave. She told me studies have proven policing does not reduce speeding and that pleading on social media is the best method. Until you change this way of thinking with the people that set the policies in Waterloo, nothing will ever change.

B 8 months ago

Given the needs imposed by climate change, inconveniencing car drivers should be a no brainer. We have GOT to get moving on defueling our city. Making the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists encourages active transportation. Lowering speed limits (with strategic use of planters and other traffic calming measures) will keep people from wanting to cut through residential streets for through travel.As long as people are going to be driving completely unnecessary SUVs with their high, hip-smashing bumpers, we need to do something to protect those of us using our feet to get around.

FullmetalFeminist 8 months ago