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.

Do not walk more often because of safety concerns. More specifically, would like to walk my children to school but don't find it safe to do so given that we often see cars speeding and running the red light on our route (William and Westmount).

Ane 7 months ago

I applaud the idea but fear it will be impossible to achieve without investment in road changes i.e. narrowing, adding bike lanes, channeling etc. Resources for enforcement do not exist.From where I sit, volume is much more the problem than speeding!!

Ground Zero 7 months ago

This is an extremely skewed survey with a targeted position and inappropriate in design by our city staff. Our staff should be neutral in approach and balance the questions on both sides. There should be more data to inform residents on the number of incidents and accidents tied to higher speeds with a variance of ONLY 10 km per hour difference. Awareness of speed is more of an issue (ex get more of the radar tools that post the speed of the driver) and a sign under it with the fine, points and annual insurance spike! Dropping the speed on responsible drivers is inefficient in the use of our roads and will frustrate more people to speed once their are past the slower drivers that meet the letter of the law.

WaterlooFamilyGuy 7 months ago

Dunvegan drive in waterloo near sandown public school needs speed bumps and more visible signs. Its scary walking somedays to school

Robin 7 months ago

Although I agree that there are sections of residential roads on which a 40 kph speed limit might assist in making an area safer for pedestrians, such as around tight(er) curves in the road, lowering the speed limit is no guarantee that the roads will be safer. In order for the roads to be made "safer," one would have to either police the section, install speed bumps, or install speed cameras. Policing would be prohibitive cost-wise, as it would have to be done daily and on a consistent basis. Speed bumps cause vehicles to slow down and then to speed up and then slow down and then speed up, etc., causing more fuel usage and hence more pollution. Speed cameras have not proven to be politically acceptable.Then, there is a problem that not many people realise. Vehicle manufacturers adjust a vehicle's gearing to ramp up fuel economy ratings. One of the ways to do this is to have the vehicle transmission change to a higher gear just before 50 kph (one of the speed test points for fuel consumption), thereby dropping out of the vehicle's powerband. This can result in a "feeling" that there is a loss of power to control the speed, causing drivers who are unaware of the cause to press down harder on the accelerator. The result is more speed. Installing lower speed limits will not be able to change this perception. (Note that the perception of being out of the powerband is not as prevalent in vehicles with manual gearboxes, or with CVT transmissions.)There is also the distracted driver issue. We tend to think of distracted drivers, for example, as those "putting on make-up," changing music stations on the radio, or eating while driving. I would suggest that the most distracted drivers are those harried drivers with too much on their minds, and too tight daily schedules. They will drive faster regardless of the posted speed limit. In my mind, this is the most dangerous issue to challenge.

VRA 7 months ago

I would LOVE to see the limit lowered on Dunvegan Dr in Waterloo. Cars are frequently SPEEDING around the bend, right beside the park. Last summer I saw a child make a run for the road and we got them just in time before a car came SPEEDING around the bend!

LindsayL 7 months ago

The speed limits are fine as is. Do you have data showing an increase or decrease in accidents on our roads now? What problem are you trying to address? If there isn't a problem then no need to change

DAW 7 months ago

hopefully the city listens to its residents for once and actually lowers the speed limits and does this in a timely manner unlike other projects they have failed to deliver on or drag out for 5 years. lets get it done city of Waterloo and stop falling behind city of kitchener

99 7 months ago

lower the speed limits in all residential areas

N Lin 7 months ago

i agree with the comment below and think its a no brainer to make our streets safer and slower the speed limits in all residential zone. safety of pedestrians should take priority over people rushing to get to work. maybe speed bumps could be added to slow them down as well where needed

N Lin 7 months ago

I live on Woolwich Street in Waterloo and this is a HUGE concern for myself and many of my surrounding neighbors. I have a young toddler and my biggest fear is my little guy taking a step out into oncoming traffic, or going off the sidewalk on his bicycle. We do our best as parents to teach our kids to stay away from the street, but I can blink and he can be somewhere he isn't supposed to be! Just last week my son saw our neighbor walking out front, and he let himself out the LOCKED front door and met my neighbor out on the sidewalk, because he wanted to say hi. HE IS TWO!!! -- Yes, we have taken further precautions with getting the toddler-proof doorknob covers, but things happen! Reducing the speed limit on our street will make us feel so much more comfortable with where we live. It truly is a fear I live with every day as a mother to a fearless little boy!

90H 7 months ago