The City of Surrey is toying with the idea of reducing speed limits on residential streets after council on Monday unanimously gave the green light to a pilot project that will see speed limits reduced from 50 km/h to 40 km/h in three residential areas – and to 30 km/h in three others – for one year.
“The pilot project has been carefully designed to test the impacts of reduced speed limits such that staff can make informed recommendations with regards to residential area speed limits city-wide,” Scott Neuman, Surrey’s general manager of engineering, told council in a corporate report.
All told, eight stretches of road are included in the study, but two of them will be control sites and keep the present posted limited of 50 km/h.
They are between 96 Avenue and 100 Avenue from 124 Street and 128 Street, between 75 Avenue and 80 Avenue from 120A Street and 124 Street, between Rosemary Heights Crescent and 40 Avenue from 153 Street and 156B Street, between 56 Avenue and 60 Avenue from 180 Street and 184 Street, between 60 Avenue and 64 Avenue from 132 Street and 136 Street, between 88 Avenue and 92 Avenue from King George Boulevard and 140 Street, between 104 Avenue and 108 Avenue from 128 Street and 132 Street, and between 100 Avenue and 104 Avenue from 140 Street and 144 Street.
This is part of the Vision Zero Safe Surrey Mobility Plan for 2019 to 2023, that was launched in February 2019 with the aim of no people being killed or injured on Surrey’s streets.
Councillor Doug Elford, who lives on a residential road that parallels a busy thoroughfare, says he knows all about “rat-running, which is speeding through the subdivisions to avoid intersections.
“I also happen to live in a school zone which over the years I’ve witnessed some very serious close calls. So the statistics say that when you get hit by a vehicle at 30 versus 50 it’s quite exponential in terms of survival,” he noted, voicing his support for the pilot project.
Mayor Doug McCallum said he’s “really looking forward” to seeing the pilot project get underway.
“I happen to live in a community that does have 20 miles an hour through it and I can tell you it really works well in Crescent Beach where the speed limit for the whole community is down at 20, or it’s at 30, sorry, and it really does slow traffic people are a lot more aware of it,” McCallum said. “I’m looking forward to this pilot program I think it hopefully will be very successful and I think it’s a start of us, if we combine that with our traffic cameras and traffic control on our roads, we’re starting to get a grip on managing our traffic and making it especially safety throughout Surrey.”
Neuman noted in his report that according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Highway Safety Manual a 2 km/h speed reduction can result in a 17 per cent decrease in fatal collisions. “It is also widely accepted that a pedestrian struck at 50 km/h has just a 15 percent chance of survival, while a pedestrian struck at 30 km/h has a 90 percent chance of survival,” Neuman wrote.
Neuman also noted Toronto reduced the posted speed limit from 40 km/h to 30 km/h on all local roads in 12 municipal wards resulting in a 28 per cent drop in pedestrian-related crashes.
“Notably, these results were achieved solely with changes to the posted speed limit, and without the implementation of traffic calming or other supporting infrastructure,” he told council.
Moreover, Edmonton lowered the speed limits from 50 km/h to 30 km/h in school zones resulting in a 45 per cent reduction in fatal crashes and injuries.