Thanks to all who have engaged about the speed limit reduction. I’ll try to address some of the concerns that have come up here.
This process and been in the works since 2018. It is based on the results of public engagement surveys that indicate support for residential speed limit reduction, and also traffic safety data from Edmonton and other jurisdictions. These studies show that the likelihood of fatality increases significantly when a vehicle hits a vulnerable person (like a pedestrian or cyclist) at 50 km/h compared to 40. 40 km/h = 32% risk of fatality. At 50 km/h, that jumps to 80%. This is entirely about safety.
Edmontonians’ opinions were taken into account through a series of surveys and public hearings. To be sure, this issue can get heated, but if you set emotion aside and look at the data, this does improve safety on residential roads. This won’t affect arterial roads or roads where the limit is 60 km/h, so the effect on people’s daily commute should be minimal.
Why now? As mentioned, this has been a two-year process, and it’s taken that much time to get to this stage. Is it appropriate to do this during a pandemic? I think it is. We’re seeing lots of people walking or running on neighbourhood streets, and at the same time, we’re seeing an increase in speeding. I do not feel there is a bad time to start making our streets safer for all users.
Funds for implementation — down to $1.1 million from the initially estimated $2.5M — will be drawn from the Traffic Safety Automated Enforcement Reserve. This money does not go into the City’s general reserve and must be reinvested into traffic safety measures. This is a sound investment that will save money and lives.
As far as my voting is concerned, that’s a matter of public record. Sometimes I’ve been in the majority, sometimes not. Sometimes I’ve voted in agreement with the mayor, sometimes not. I was elected to look at all the available information on a given issue and make the best decision for Edmontonians based on that information. That’s my process. No one else’s vote is a consideration.
My record on safety issues has been consistent. I campaigned on safety. Reintroducing school zones was one of the first motions I put forward in Council seven years ago. Traffic safety is a deeply personal issue for me. So is my vote on this issue predictable? Sure, maybe. But I’m okay with that.
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