Moving forward with data-driven, evidence-based speed limits

At the Community and Public Services Committee on February 26, the City of Edmonton has the opportunity to finally move forward on new data-driven, evidence-based speed limit regulations to help us achieve Vision Zero goals.


Paths for People has been a part of this multi-year discussion, advocating for street speeds that facilitate safer and more comfortable streets for all users. Residential and main street speed limits impact all Edmontonians, so an extensive engagement process was necessary.

It is now time for the City to take the next step forward in creating a safer city that is inclusively designed and regulated for all users of the transportation system.

We urge Edmonton to act now.


We believe a residential speed limit of 50 kph is not acceptable for any Edmontonians and the best option is a city-wide residential limit of 30 kph.

The research shows that 30 kph is the speed limit that best balances the connectivity needs of vehicles while also most substantially reducing the severity of collisions. A speed limit of 30 kph makes for safer roads that are more comfortable and welcoming for everyone.

We cycle on these streets.

We scooter on these streets.

We walk with our children and aging parents along these streets.

We all deserve to feel safe and comfortable.

We acknowledge that such a speed limit will cost drivers some time, but we believe that losing 20 seconds or so on each vehicle trip is a fair trade off for reducing harm and potentially saving someone’s life.


If Edmonton isn’t deemed ready yet for the bold move of 30 kph city wide, then we think the second best option is a 30/40 YEG Core Zone model, with a speed limit of 30 kph in the heart of the city and 40 kph for the remaining areas. That way all Edmontonians will benefit from lower speed limits, and 30 kph can be test-driven, so to speak, in neighbourhoods that are largely already designed for it.

Once the concept is proven in the core, it can be expanded to the rest of the city.


We realize the easy “compromise” decision here would be to go with 40 kph city wide. But that, we believe, is not enough.

40 kph will make our streets a little safer, true, but 30 kph makes them a lot safer. 40 citywide is not enough to begin to fundamentally change the way we use and think about our streets. And that’s precisely what we need now if we’re serious about achieving Vision Zero.


Lower residential speed limits are not a cure all, of course.

Real lasting change will also involve:

  • education
  • community-driven action
  • design interventions
  • a shift in our culture to see streets as more than automobile corridors

Edmonton has an opportunity now to use one of the most powerful tools we have for improving road safety. So let’s make the most of it.


We have all talked about this issue for long enough. It’s time now to act, to be bold, to play perhaps the most powerful card we have for making our streets safer and more civil for all.