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Edmonton is planning for its future – to grow into a healthy city of 2 million people and a neighbourly city with community and personal wellness that embodies and promotes equity for all Edmontonians. Transformational change is needed to bring this vision to life. Traffic safety is at the heart of supporting a healthy city, livable urban places, and a prosperous regional economy. As part of this, the City is looking at places where lowering speed limits can create safe, livable streets for everyone. 

Potential Changes to Speed Limits

Big picture, why the potential changes to some speed limits?

Edmonton is planning for its future – to grow into a healthy city of 2 million people and a neighbourly city with community and personal wellness that embodies and promotes equity for all Edmontonians. Transformational change is needed to bring this vision to life. Traffic safety is at the heart of supporting a healthy city, livable urban places, and a prosperous regional economy. 

As part of this, the City is looking at places where lowering speed limits can create safe, livable streets for everyone.  Reducing residential speeds can make our streets calmer, quieter, and safer for people walking, biking, driving and enjoying their neighbourhood.

Safe, livable streets will help us reach our goal of Vision Zero; zero traffic related fatalities and serious injuries in Edmonton.

If Council approves a change to Edmonton’s speed limit bylaw, when will changes be effective?

Depending on which approach Council decides to move forward with, reduced speed limits could be implemented from 6 to 11 months of approval of the applicable bylaws. During this time, the City will also roll-out a robust public awareness and education campaign to ensure everyone is aware of the change. 

How much time is this going to add to my drive?

We know your time is important. When driving, reducing speed limits will have very little impact on trip times. Try the Estimated Time of Arrival tool on our website to see how your trip time may change.

Why is reviewing residential speed limits a priority?

Safety is the priority. Speed limits are an important aspect of traffic safety because speed is a factor in the frequency and outcome of every collision. Slowing down while driving gives you more time to react to the unexpected and helps you avoid collisions. 

Reducing residential speeds can make our streets calmer, quieter, and safer for people walking, biking, driving and enjoying their neighbourhood. This creates a more comfortable environment for active modes of transportation, builds community trust and creates liveable neighborhoods.

Graphic showing the approximate survival rate if hit by a vehicle at several different speeds/

How will I know what the speed limit is?

If Council decides to move forward with new speed limits, speed limit signs will be added or updated where required. This will include providing signs where speed limits transition from one to another. As well, if Council decides to move forward with any speed limit changes, an extensive, city-wide education campaign will take place.

Will there be speed limit signs everywhere?

The City has developed a refreshed signage approach that will reduce the number of road signs on our streets wherever possible. 

How are we aligning with what other major cities in Canada (Calgary/Vancouver/Toronto/Montreal/etc) are doing in regards to speed limits?

Many municipalities throughout Canada, the United States and the world are considering or have implemented reduced speed limits. The City reviewed best practices, studies and research to develop our implementation plans. How we approach reducing speed limits is based on how our City is designed and our strategic goals, as outlined within ConnectEdmonton and the upcoming City Plan.  

Has the City decided to change residential speed limits in Edmonton?

This decision has not yet been made. Any adjustments to the existing speed limit will require final approval by City Council. 

Your input is valued. You may provide your input on speed limit changes at a Non Statutory Public Hearing, taking place on Wednesday February 26, 2019. This is where the City will present information on each approach to City Council at the Community and Public Services Committee.

What public engagement has been done on this?

Administration has completed a review of integrated public engagement activities and results undertaken since 2018 that captured citizen input into traffic safety initiatives and provided insights into community priorities for renewal projects. Improving safety, mobility and accessibility are recurring themes that have emerged from these various forms of public engagement.

The Core Zone

What is the Core Zone?

The Core Zone is made up of centrally located neighbourhoods in the centre of Edmonton. Within the Core Zone, roadways are typically narrower and are designed based on a grid. Outside of the Core Zone, roads are typically wider and more curvilinear.  

Why the proposed difference in speed limits inside and outside of the Core Zone?

As neighborhoods within the Core Zone are more dense, the roads within are narrower and developed based off of a grid system,. Therefore, their design is more conducive to 30 km/hr.

My community does not want to have the speed limit lowered in our neighborhood. Can we opt out?

If City Council decides to proceed with one of the speed reduction approaches, at this time, there is not an option for communities to opt out. However, a monitoring and evaluation process will be undertaken, during which residents can request the review of a road's speed limit through 311. 

My community is outside of the Core Zone, but would like to have a 30 km/h. Can we opt in?

If City Council decides to proceed with the Core Zone, at this time, the Core Zone approach does not have an option for communities to opt in. However, a monitoring and evaluation process will be undertaken, during which residents can request the review of a road's speed limit through 311.

Types of Roads

What are local, collector, and arterial roads?

Local residential roads provide direct access to adjacent lots and are the primary roads used to travel in a given neighbourhood, including service roads.

Collector residential roads provide neighbourhood travel between local residential roads and arterial roads and can provide direct access to adjacent lands. Buses generally operate on collector roads within neighbourhoods. 

Arterial roads carry higher volumes of traffic between areas (“through” traffic) and have a range of design characteristics that affect operating speeds and access to the adjacent property. These streets carry larger volumes of traffic (people driving as well as those riding transit, walking and wheeling, cycling, and delivering goods) between areas with relatively few and controlled access points.

As transportation engineering best practices evolve over time, how the way the road looks and functions can change depending on when it was built, regardless of the class. In Edmonton, the City evaluates appropriate speeds for roadways by considering: 

  • Collision frequency and severity
  • Presence of mixed transportation modes and speed reduction zones
  • Adjacent land use
  • Traffic volume and operating speeds
  • Primary use and design intention/function 
Will speed limits in industrial and commercial areas change?

No changes are currently contemplated for these roadway types. The City will continue to evaluate these roadways on a request basis and as roadways are widened or renewed.

Any change for arterial roads?

The majority of arterial roads are not being reviewed for speed limit suitability. However, the City is reviewing Main Streets, such as Whyte Avenue and Jasper Avenue, and other high pedestrian areas (including the Downtown) for appropriate speed limit reductions.

What are you doing about roads that should stay at 50 km/h?

The City completed a systematic road network review to identify where reduced speed limits could increase safety and liveability in Edmonton’s neighbourhoods. Roadways that would not support a lowered speed limit will be identified and brought forward for Council’s consideration. 

The City evaluates appropriate speeds for roadways by considering the following factors: existing safety considerations, the presence of mixed transportation modes, adjacent land use, the presence of speed reduction zones, traffic volume and existing speed limit, the design intent and the primary use of the road.

Why aren’t we increasing the speed limit on the Yellowhead/Anthony Henday/Whitemud?

The Anthony Henday is under Provincial jurisdiction; therefore, the City does not have control over its speed limit. Arterial roadways, including Yellowhead Trail and Whitemud Drive all have maximum speed limits based upon the engineered design of the roadway such as widths, curves, sightlines and type and spacing of intersections or interchanges. The current speed limits on these roads have been determined as the highest speed we should travel for safety. 

If the speed limit is reduced, will playground zones go away?

Edmonton will still have playground zones. Regardless of the approach, the speed limit will remain at 30km/hr within these locations.

Enforcement

Speeding is already a problem in my neighbourhood - how will this help?

Safe speeds are a crucial aspect of the Safe Systems Approach to achieving Vision Zero. Through the new Safe Mobility Strategy, the City will be developing a plan to address how we move throughout Edmonton that includes helping those using the transportation system to take responsibility and accountability for their actions.  

If reduced speed limits are approved, the City will be working closely with Edmonton Police Service to implement a holistic enforcement approach, along with a public education and awareness campaign, to reinforce new driver expectations.

Is this just a cash-grab for the City?

Safety is the priority. The City uses automated enforcement to improve traffic safety. Enforcement is an important tool to improve traffic safety, and is combined with education, engineering, evaluation, and engagement. 

Funds generated by photo enforcement are part of the Traffic Safety Automated Enforcement Reserve and do not go into general City revenues. Through the reserve, funds are reinvested back into traffic safety programs. Each year, Edmonton Police Service also receives a portion of the funds generated from automated enforcement.

Will there be enforcement in my neighbourhood to make sure people follow the law?

The City works closely with the Edmonton Police Service and the University of Alberta to collect and analyze quantitative data to inform traffic safety actions. Together we will review insights into how Edmontonians are moving through the transportation network and moving forward, we will begin to gather and use qualitative data will proactively achieve safety and livability goals while being responsive to conflict locations. If reduced speed limits are approved, the City will be working closely with Edmonton Police Service to implement a holistic enforcement approach, along with a public education and awareness campaign, to reinforce new driver expectations.

Due to the Provincial Government's moratorium on new automated enforcement locations, no new automated enforcement locations will be added at this time.

Vision Zero

What is Vision Zero?

Vision Zero is goal of zero traffic related serious injuries and fatalities in Edmonton.

Vision Zero is a multi-national traffic safety initiative that is reinventing traditional approaches to traffic safety, based on the philosophy that no one should be killed or seriously injured in the road transportation system. 

Vision Zero is not a slogan or even a program. It is a fundamentally different way to approach traffic safety. Traffic-related deaths and serious injuries are not inevitable. They are preventable.

How does this align with the goals of Vision Zero?

Speed is a factor in every collision so safe speeds are a crucial aspect of the Safe Systems Approach to achieving Vision Zero. The risk of fatality for people struck by a vehicle while walking increases dramatically as driver speed increases above 30 km/hr. 

Graphic showing the risk of fatal injury for a pedestrian colliding with a vehicle.

How many lives will this save each year?

The City engaged the Urban Traffic Safety Research Chair at the University of Alberta to review existing speed and collision data in order to model potential outcomes related to reducing residential speed limits. The analysis included estimating anticipated injury and fatal collision reductions and quantifying the value of cost avoidance related to decreasing collisions. 

Safety is the priority. Speed limits are an important aspect of traffic safety because speed is a factor in the frequency and outcome of every collision, affecting both collision frequency and outcomes. Slowing down while driving gives you more time to react to the unexpected and helps avoid collisions.

The risk of fatality for people struck by a vehicle while walking increases dramatically as driver speed increases above 30 km/hr.

Costs

How much will this change cost taxpayers?

The costs to implement new speed limit signs and deliver a robust public education and awareness campaign will be funded with funds generated from automated enforcement and will not be funded from tax levies. The City will bring forward cost estimates when they return to Committee in February 2020. 

Should this be a priority given the state of the economy?

As Edmonton plans for its future, to grow into a healthy city of 2 million people, continued progress towards the 2032 goal of zero will require an increasingly holistic perspective.  

Traffic safety is a key mechanism for supporting a healthy city, liveable urban places, climate resilience and a prosperous regional economy and safe speeds are an important aspect of achieving Vision Zero goals through increased safety and livability.

Safe speeds positively impact both collision frequency and outcomes and increase active modes of travel, narrow inequities, create greater social inclusion and support community cohesion.

Ask a Question

Ask any question about Edmonton's residential speeds review and we'll do our best to find the answer and post it.

For More Information

Email saferoads@edmonton.ca

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