The speed limit on the residential streets of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie (a borough of Montreal, Canada) is currently 40 km/h, except for in school zones and around parks, where the speed limit drops to 30 km/h. The speed limit on arterial streets is 50 km/h. The Mayor, François Croteau, would like to lower the speed limit to 30 km/h on residential streets.
However, before making this change, the Mayor would like to start a dialogue with neighboring boroughs. “What is key is to not do this in an isolated manner. In order to come across as coherent, the planning needs to be done in tandem with the neighboring districts.”
He adds that everyone he has spoken with seems to be in favor of the plan and open to implementing it. However, it will be necessary to figure out how to deal with the street signage and the Minister of Transportation.
The speed limit and security of residential streets are two of the recurring complaints that arrive on the desk of the district council. “The number one request made by citizens is that the speed on their streets be reduced so that the roads are safer,” recounts the Mayor.
Why reduce the speed limit?
The Mayor maintains that reducing the speed limit will make neighborhoods safer. However, there are other ways of reducing speed on the roads as well, because police officers cannot be everywhere at once to enforce the rules. “We don’t have the means to put a police officer on every street. We can put other measures in place, including narrowing streets and adding speed bumps. This will also help to reduce speeds on the roads. All of this must be done collectively - we need to put in place a system of safety measures.”
“These measures are not meant to be “speed traps,” because they are mainly on local roads. But if a police officer is watching the corner of a street and 70% of drivers are driving too fast, that means that there is a problem. If people respected the speed limits, there wouldn’t be such problems. People need to stop viewing residential streets as race courses. If one is going 45-50 km/h and a child steps into the street from between two cars, a driver does not have enough time to react,” explains Mayor Croteau.
And commercial streets?
For the moment, speed limits will only be modified on local and residential streets. Will the speed limit on Rue Masson be reduced to 30 km/h? “We will have to wait and see, because it is neither a residential street nor a principal arterial street,” stresses the Mayor.
He adds that recent changes to the Saint-Hubert Plaza show that having a slower speed of traffic makes customers’ experience more interesting and increases the client base of nearby businesses. It was simply a new layout that led to the reduction of cars’ speeds on the road.
“Two studies coming out of the United States show that the more that we decrease the emphasis on cars in our cities, the more we place the emphasis on the pedestrian and the cyclist. The more we do this, the more businesses’ revenue increases. By the way, there was not an increase in the number of parking spots on Rue Masson, and yet we have observed increase use of the road,” explains Mayor Croteau.
Has your city experimented with reduced speed limits? How were they received in your community?
Original article, originally published in French, here.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.