September 14th, 2015
Robin Levinson King
Slow down — starting today, speed limits on 387 kilometres of local city roads will be reduced to 30 km/hr.
The speed limit will be reduced from 40 km/hr to 30 km/hr on local roads within the Toronto and East York community council districts.
The change of pace was championed by Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow and passed community council in June. A city report suggested it could help make streets safer, but also that changing the signs could cost $1.1 million.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Matlow said. Matlow said research makes it clear that reducing speed limits save lives, because if a pedestrian is hit by a car at a lower speed they are much more likely to survive.
“We’re following the evidence,” he said. “There’s a number of things that we know we need to do, and this is one of those things.”
The city estimated that about 4,450 signs and 310 traffic signals would have to be changed, a process that could take about a year, according to city spokesperson Steve Johnston.
Not wanting to wait until next year’s budget, Councillor Gord Perks moved an amendment that would allow wards to begin changing signs starting this week with Matlow’s own Ward 22 St. Paul’s.
Matlow said he focused on changing the speeds because it’s the easiest thing to implement at the community council level. Other traffic solutions, such as police enforcement, would require city council approval.
“I hope every driver treats every local neighbourhood street like it’s a street where their kids could be playing,” Matlow said.
The changes will affect Wards 4, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and 32.
With files from David Rider, Betsy Powell
This article can be found in its original form at http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/09/14/speed-limits-on-toronto-streets-reduced-starting-today.html