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Sidney to consider reducing speed limit on neighbourhood roads to 30 km/h

The speed limit downtown is already limited to 30 km/h, and the move would not affect collector and arterial roads.
A roundabout in downtown Sidney, where speed is already limited to 30 km/h. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Sidney council is exploring ways to reduce speed limits on its neighbourhood roads to 30 kilometres per hour.

The speed limit downtown is already limited to 30 km/h.

The move would not affect collector and arterial roads.

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith said the potential changes are in response to community concerns about traffic speeds.

“As our community continues to grow and densify and we’re encouraging active transportation, we want cyclists and pedestrians to feel safe,” he said.

Studies show that lower speeds can mitigate collision severity and frequency, a staff report on lowering speed limits in Sidney noted.

At a council meeting Tuesday, councillors asked staff to develop a report on reducing speed limits on local roads from 50 km/h to 30 km/h.

The default speed limit for roads in a municipality is 50 kilometres per hour, according to B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act, while the default outside of a municipality is 80 km/h.

A local bylaw allows the town to set speed limits on specific roads, and downtown streets have been limited to 30 km/h for about 20 years, McNeil-Smith said.

In order to enforce lower speed limits, signs must be installed, he said, but approximately 300 signs would be required to change maximum speeds on all the town’s roads at a cost of $150,000.

McNeil-Smith said Sidney likely wouldn’t take that approach, instead installing signs only on busier roads.

Staff are expected to bring a report to council on how to effectively reduce speed limits on neighbourhood roads in early 2024. If approved by council, changes could be implemented the same year, following a period of public input.

Councillors also decided to refer speed-limit changes on collector and arterial roads to council’s next strategic planning session in early 2024.

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