It's official – the speed limit along a section of MR 80 is dropping, after city councillors confirmed a committee decision made last month.
Ward 6 Coun. Rene Lapierre, whose ward includes that area of the Valley, was the only “no” vote at the operations committee in December opposing lowering the limit.
The decision comes after the roads department received a petition signed by 37 people who wanted speeds along the busy roadway reduced to 60 km/h from 80 km/h in the area from Yorkshire Drive to Dominion Drive.
Staff conducted a technical review of the speed limit and found that according to guidelines, the limit should should be 70 km/h in that area.
But Lapierre said last month he's heard from a lot of residents on the issue, but only three were in favour. Many residents worry lowering the speed limit will mean it will take them longer to travel to and from work, and make area a less attractive place to live.
Meeting on Tuesday, Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini asked city staff how long the limit had been 80 km/h. Infrastructure GM Tony Cecutti said he didn't have an exact answer, but said it had been a few decades at least.
“Is it an issue for accidents?” Vagnini asked.
“That wasn't one of the big triggers,” for the speed limit review, Cecutti said, it was the design of the road.
But Ward 5 Coun. Bob Kirwan said it would be dangerous for the city to reject a safety recommendation because it's unpopular.
“We now have evidence it should be 70 km/h,” Kirwan said. “We would be voting to leave it higher than our guidelines tell us it should be.”
A speed study in that area of MR 80 was conducted in June 2014 about 200 metres north of Yorkshire Drive and recorded the speeds of more than 31,000 vehicles. The average speed was 82 km/h.
According to guidelines the city uses to determine speed limits for municipal roadways, the speed limit for that area should be 70 km/h.
In the end, councillors voted 9-3 to lower the limit.