40 km/h default speed limit

On November 4, 2020, Paths for People wrote to City Council regarding implementing a default speed limit of 40 km/h on all residential streets and some main streets in Edmonton. Council voted in favour of moving to a 40 km/h default speed limit. Paths for People looks forward to continuing to build an Edmonton that is safe for everyone to walk, roll, bike, and drive in.

Today, the City of Edmonton can continue to move forward on the direction provided by Council in February of 2020 to implement a 40 km/h default speed limit. 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. 

We still believe the best option is a city-wide residential limit of 30 kilometres per hour (kph). Research shows 30 kph is the speed limit that best balances the connectivity needs of vehicles while also most substantially reducing the severity of collisions. We know 30 kph costs drivers some time, but we believe the loss of 20 seconds or so on most vehicle trips is a fair trade-off for reducing harm and potentially saving someone’s life.

However, the decision Council now faces is whether to implement the direction it decided on in February. This direction is to implement a 40 kph default city speed limit.

Some may raise concerns that expending municipal resources on reducing speed limits is unnecessary at this moment. However, the funding source to facilitate this change has already been identified through the Traffic Safety Automated Enforcement Reserve Fund. Beyond this, moving forward now reflects the arduous decade-long conversation Edmontonians have had about speed limits. There is no need to draw this out further. We must act on Edmontonians’ demands for safer streets.

We would welcome Council changing the four in “40 kph” to a three. If we are dedicating funding from the Traffic Safety Automated Enforcement Reserve Fund to achieve Vision Zero goals, then 30 kph provides the best “bang for your buck” solution. If the decision we are facing is between 40 kph and 50 kph, then Paths for People supports the slower speed out of the two options. Beyond this, we recognize that there is a lot of other work we can be doing to make our streets safer. We look forward to contributing to this work and building an Edmonton that is safe for everyone to walk, roll, bike, and drive in.

Whatever Council decides to do, we implore you to continue moving forward on creating safer, more liveable streets.

Thank you for your time and consideration.