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.

As others have stated, lowering speed limits will not change driver's habits of speeding. They will just get frustrated and continue to speed. Even in Beechwood where some streets are posted at 40 kph, and residents are supposedly 'intelligent', drivers do not slow down, and do not come to a complete stop at traffic signs. Also, at traffic lights when making a right hand turn, they do not come to a complete stop at the stop line; they just flow right through! Most people do not obey the law because of lack of respect for all laws and for other people. We need traffic enforcement officers whose only job is just that. Let the police do their other jobs to prevent ands solve crimes. A major advertising campaign and a one month intense enforcement of the traffic laws is needed to remind most people how to drive.As for speed bumps: theses are a hazard, and a major issue for ambulance and fire services. Drivers just speed in between these, and they delay the flow of traffic.

Shimin 7 months ago

Feedback. Let's see. Reducing to 40 will do nothing. People are going well over 60 between stop signs measuring less than 200m. Because police can't fight that by "hiding" and catching them with a radar gun, and people know it. Reduce illegal transportation traffic (16 wheelers) by enforcing bylaw, increased signage and traffic calming measures ie speedbumps. I went to a council meeting and our councilor said it couldn't happen because there's no such thing as permanent speedbumps in neighbourhoods....except wealthy ones like Glasgow or John, right? Or one way street changes to calm cut through a like in Mary-Allen where a few councilors live? Waterloo has created patterns of cutting through uptown neighbourhoods to skip Erb, Caroline and King (no lefts everywhere, ION, increased density in the core with high rises etc). I'm sick of complaining about speed and non-stop ping on my street and being told to call the cops. They have more important things to do in our town than sit at a stop sign. It's time for the city to take better measures for the safety and well being of their citizens. Speedbumps work. One way steets work. You are increasing density in the core. Truck traffic and construction truck traffic on residential streets (William, Dunbar, Alexandra, John) is at an all time high because everyone avoids Erb and the ion train gate closure? Reducing speed will solve nothing because it can't be patrolled by the law. Be proactive and increase traffic calming measures in neighbourhoods.

Tarchiba 7 months ago

Limiting speeds to 40 km/h is excellent for reducing accidental fatalities, but this needs to be enforced (photo radar). Some of the other commenters make good comments that the worst offenders are those who are regularly going over 50 km/h, which happens on all kinds of roads (especially University Avenue). The only reason people are against photo radar is because they know they'll get caught speeding.

JacobT 7 months ago

This is an easy win - there is no reason not to do this. Studies by both UK Dept. of Transportation, and the Austrailian Federal Office of Road Safety ("Killing Speed and Saving Lives" and "Vehicle Speeds and the Incidence of Fatal Pedestrian Collisions" both 1994) have shown reducing speed by from 50kph by only 20 kph can reduce pedestrian fatalities during collision by up to 40%.Reducing the speed limit, even if enforcement does not increase, will still result in an overall decrease of speed in general. Anybody struck by vehicles will be thankful for this, and the cost is absolutely minimal.

Nik Schmidt 7 months ago

This is trivial rubbish; if anything, it will help increase care use. If you're serious about addressing the creeping menace of increased indiscriminate car use to reduce carbon emissions, you'll need to come up with some potentially meaningful policies and goals. e.g. restricting or omitting private car use (except for those who can demonstrate a need and have sticker authorization) to enter downtown, stop building parking garages and expanding road use etc. Get with it !

johndunbar 7 months ago

I think the problem is speed limit enforcement. I live on Margaret and I see cars regularly doing 80km/h or more.

seangoggin 7 months ago

Survey is a non-survey. FWIW reducing speed limits will make no difference; drivers currently ignore the posted 50 kph in residential neighbourhoods. Drivers rarely slow down when passing any of the 3 elementary and 1 high school within our neighbourhood. Neighbourhoods whose streets provide a means to access main roads (i.e. University, Weber, Bridgeport) or highway (85) can't be calmed by the simple expedient of erecting a speed limit sign. The region likely has no plans to physically or electronically monitor speeds on a full-time basis. And, frankly, those who currently use our neighbourhood as part of their daily drive will be unlikely to reduce their speed. Sixty (on a good day) seems to be the favoured speed; would like be greater if the streets weren't hilly or curved. The fix isn't an easy one; don't kid yourselves.

urbanwaterloo 7 months ago

i live on maverick street backing onto woolwich and fully support reducing the speed limits on woolwich street as cars race down here and its unsafe for pedestrians trying to cross the blind corners and loud for us who back onto it! make it happen city staff

TS85 7 months ago

Definitely reduce the speed limit but be willing to enforce it when speeding is a common occurrence.Even lower speed limit where there is a school on the same street,fines increased for infractions during school hours and 1 hour prior and after school while students are on the street.

RUTLEDGE 7 months ago

Useless unless enforced. If 40km/h is implemented a 41 km/h or higher should be ticketed.

Mark 7 months ago

I think this is a great idea! the people who are against shouldn't be so selfish and instead think of the bigger picture. not sure why they think speeding in residential streets is acceptable and slowing down in residential streets is a bad thing. Give your heads a shake people. Do the right thing city of waterloo and lets make our residential streets safer!

liamKD 7 months ago

We do not need a 40k/hr speed limit. 50k/hr is slow enough. Anything below this will only be used to line city coffers with speeding tickets.

Mame 8 months ago

Re:enforcement - I have lived in countries with photo radar and it works. And along with speed, what about noise? I live in a family, residential area right near a school in North Lakeshore and there is always speeding on the short piece of road right up to the school. On top of that, there are many after-market muffler alterations that accompany the wild acceleration that occurs once cars turn the corner. Is there any enforcement of noise by-laws for altered vehicles?

Fergabell 8 months ago

Enforcement is key otherwise speeders will just ignore it. At the same time, focus should be placed on reducing speed through other means such as stop signs. Consider, for example Old Abbey road which serves the neighbourhood, is not a through road, but many drivers go too fast! Stop signs at the intersections with Sandringham and Eastbridge Walk would help more than lowering the speed limit.

Rob Morris 8 months ago

I fully support this as long as it is accompanied by appropriate enforcement and driver education/community outreach. The current 50 km/h limit is relatively meaningless as few drivers abide by it due to inadequate enforcement. Decreasing the speed limit on roads like Northlake drive, if it has been shown to decrease the number and severity of collisions, is an intelligent decision. However, it must be accompanied by enforcement to ensure that drivers do actually change their habits or the decrease will be meaningless.

Chris Parsons 8 months ago

I believe this would be a ridiculous decision for all neighborhoods. It is more important to just concentration on driving and leave your cell phone in your pocket or purse. It may be illegal but I see people everyday using them in vehicle, walking down the street not watch were they are going even riding bicycles. All one needs to do is pay attention to what they are doing, driving a vehicle.

Rich Hollingsworth 8 months ago

Good idea, we need a more conscious driving habits. This is a great idea! i support lowering the speed limit to 40km/h on all our local neighourood streets.

Rod 8 months ago

Won´t do anything, people don´t respect the current speed limit changing it will be useless...

Lgmk 8 months ago

Studies have shown that people drive at a speed they think reasonable, regardless of the posted limit. Please do not lower it. This will just increase congestion, and will do nothing to reduce the actual issue. The issue is 't someone driving at 50, or even 60 - it's those driving at 90+. This is a terrible idea.

Gerrat 8 months ago

Glen Forrest Blvd. needs to be 40kms end to end. It has become a highway. Someone is going to get seriously hurt.

LisaB 8 months ago