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Edmonton is planning for its future – to grow into a healthy city of 2 million people and a neighbourly city with community and personal wellness that embodies and promotes equity for all Edmontonians. Transformational change is needed to bring this vision to life. Traffic safety is at the heart of supporting a healthy city, livable urban places, and a prosperous regional economy. As part of this, the City is looking to lower speed limits in residential neighbourhoods and areas with high numbers of pedestrians, creating safe, livable streets for everyone.

Changes to Speed Limits

Big picture, why reduce the default speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h?

Edmonton is planning for its future — to grow into a healthy, urban and climate resilient city of 2 million people. Our goal is to be a neighbourly city with a strong sense of community and personal wellness that embodies and promotes equity for all Edmontonians. Transformational change is needed to bring this vision to life. Traffic safety is at the heart of supporting a healthy city, livable urban places, and a prosperous regional economy. 

As part of this, the City is reducing the default speed limit in residential neighbourhoods and areas with high numbers of pedestrians, creating safe, livable streets for everyone. Reducing residential speeds can make our streets calmer, quieter, and safer for people walking, biking, driving and enjoying their neighbourhood.

Safe, livable streets will help us reach our goal of Vision Zero; zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries in Edmonton.

When will the 40 km/h speed limit change be in effect?

The current schedule is to have the speed reduction limit in effect for summer 2021. Everyone will receive advance notice of the speed changes before they are implemented by summer 2021. The Speed Limit Map on the main page shows which streets will be receiving reduced speed limits.

How much time is this going to add to my drive?

We know your time is important. Try the Estimated Time of Arrival tool to see how your trip time may change. Most people who have used it already found their travel time from their home to their destination did not significantly increase. This was because most of their traveling time was on arterial roads where higher speed limits were applied.

How will I know what the speed limit is?

The default speed limit will be 40 km/h.

The City posts signs at locations where the speed limit must change, such as at playground zones, industrial/commercial areas and arterial roads. 

The new Speed Limit Map shows which roads have had their speed limit reduced.

Why is reducing the default speed limit a priority?

Safety is the priority. Speed limits are an important aspect of traffic safety because speed is a factor in the frequency and outcome of every collision. Slowing down while driving gives you more time to react to the unexpected and helps you avoid collisions. 

Reducing speeds can make our streets calmer, quieter, and safer for people walking, biking, driving and enjoying their neighbourhood. This creates a more comfortable environment for active modes of transportation, builds community trust and creates livable neighbourhoods.

Graphic showing the approximate survival rate if hit by a vehicle at several different speeds/

What is our approach to signage?

A number of speed limit signs will be installed or replaced to communicate speed limits to drivers.
 
Speed limit signs will be added, removed or updated where required; this will include providing signs where speed limits transition from one to another.  The City has developed a refreshed signage approach that will reduce the number of road signs on our streets wherever possible. Approximately 1,500 signs will be added or updated to support speed limit reductions.

Will there be speed limit signs everywhere?

The City has developed a refreshed signage approach that will reduce the number of road signs on our streets wherever possible. 

How are we aligning with what other major cities in Canada (Calgary/Vancouver/Toronto/Montreal) are doing in regards to speed limits?

Many municipalities throughout Canada, the United States and the world are considering or have implemented reduced speed limits. The City reviewed best practices, studies and research to develop our implementation plans.

Edmonton’s approach to speed management is guided by the Safe Mobility Strategy 2021-2025. The strategy is a key component of the City's strategic goals for the next 10 years and supports ConnectEdmonton in creating a safe, healthy, urban and climate resilient city for all residents.

What public engagement has been done on this?

Administration completed a review of integrated public engagement activities and results undertaken since 2018 that captured citizen input into traffic safety initiatives and provided insights into community priorities for renewal projects.

Public hearings were held twice before the City Council, first in February 2020 and then on November 4, 2020. Improving safety, mobility and accessibility are recurring themes that have emerged from these various forms of public engagement.

In September 2020, the City gathered public feedback for the Safe Mobility Strategy 2021-2025. Information shared by citizens, combined with crash and enforcement data over the past five years, provided the City with a clearer picture of there to prioritize traffic safety measures. These measures will be localized to communities that have higher rates of collisions than other parts of the city, and may be resolved through a combination of engineering, public engagement, education, and enforcement.

Types of Roads

Any changes for arterial roads?

Most arterial roads will not receive reduced speed limits, but Council has directed reducing the speed from 50 km/h to 40 km/h for the following Main Streets and high pedestrian locations:

  • Whyte Avenue - 109 Street to 99 Street
  • Jasper Avenue - 124 Street to 97 Street
  • Chinatown - 97 Street to 101 Street; 103A Avenue to 108A Avenue
  • North of Columbia Avenue (105 Avenue)
  • North south streets between 105 Avenue & 106 Avenue from 101 Street to 116 Street but not including 101 Street, 109 Street or 116 Street
  • South of Whyte Avenue (east/west avenue between Gateway and Calgary Trail)
  • Saskatchewan Drive - 110 Street to Emily Murphy Park)
  • Fortway Drive (River Valley Road to 107 Street)

The new Speed Limit Map shows which main roads and high pedestrian areas have had their speed limit reduced.

Are there roads in residential areas that should stay at 50 km/h?

The City completed a systematic road network review to identify where reduced speed limits could increase safety and livability in Edmonton’s neighbourhoods. Roadways that would not support a lowered speed limit have been identified and will be exempt under the amended speed zone bylaw. 

The City evaluates appropriate speeds for roadways by considering the following factors: existing safety considerations, the presence of mixed transportation modes, adjacent land use, the presence of speed reduction zones, traffic volume and existing speed limit, the design intent and the primary use of the road.

The new Speed Limit Map shows which main roads and high pedestrian areas have had their speed limit reduced.

Will speed limits in industrial and commercial areas change?

Yes, in some cases. When reviewing the road network, Administration has taken a refreshed approach to roads in Edmonton to ensure that the speed limit makes sense and ensures consistency. This means that there are some non-residential roads that were included in the speed limit reduction to 40 km/h. As this program is being implemented, we will be reviewing all roads on a case-by-case basis.

Why aren’t we increasing the speed limit on the Yellowhead/Anthony Henday/Whitemud?

The Anthony Henday is under Provincial jurisdiction; therefore, the City does not have control over its speed limit. Arterial roadways, including Yellowhead Trail and Whitemud Drive, all have maximum speed limits based upon the engineered design of the roadway such as widths, curves, sightlines and type and spacing of intersections or interchanges. The current speed limits on these roads have been determined as the highest speed we should travel for safety.

The Yellowhead Trail Freeway Conversion project includes changing the design for portions of the road. After completion, the redesign will safely allow an increase from the current speed of 70 km/h to 80 km/h.

Now that the speed limit is reduced to 40 km/h, will playground zones go away?

Edmonton will still have playground zones and the speed limit will remain at 30km/h within these locations to protect our most vulnerable road users, our children.

Enforcement

Speeding is already a problem in my neighbourhood - how will this help?

The City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Police Service are working closely together to educate the public and make sure people are aware of the changes to the speed limits. Both organizations collaborate to share information and best support safety on our streets.

Is this just a cash-grab for the City?

Safety is the priority. The City uses automated enforcement to improve traffic safety. Enforcement is an important tool to improve traffic safety, and is combined with education, engineering, evaluation and engagement. 

Funds generated by photo enforcement are part of the Traffic Safety Automated Enforcement Reserve and do not go into general City revenues. Through the reserve, funds are reinvested back into traffic safety programs. Each year, Edmonton Police Service also receives a portion of the funds generated from automated enforcement.

Due to the Provincial Government's moratorium on new automated enforcement locations, no new automated enforcement locations are being considered at this time.

Vision Zero

What is Vision Zero?

Vision Zero is goal of zero traffic related serious injuries and fatalities in Edmonton.

Vision Zero is a multi-national traffic safety initiative that is reinventing traditional approaches to traffic safety, based on the philosophy that no one should be killed or seriously injured in the road transportation system. 

Vision Zero is not a slogan or even a program. It is a fundamentally different way to approach traffic safety. Traffic-related deaths and serious injuries are not inevitable. They are preventable.

How does this align with the goals of Vision Zero?

Speed is a factor in every collision so safe speeds are a crucial aspect of the Safe Systems Approach to achieving Vision Zero. The risk of fatality for people struck by a vehicle while walking increases dramatically as driver speed increases above 30 km/hr. 

Graphic showing the risk of fatal injury for a pedestrian colliding with a vehicle.

How do lower speeds ensure safety?

The City engaged the Urban Traffic Safety Research Chair at the University of Alberta to review existing speed and collision data in order to model potential outcomes related to reducing residential speed limits. The analysis included estimating anticipated injury and fatal collision reductions and quantifying the value of cost avoidance related to decreasing collisions. 

Safety is the priority. Speed limits are an important aspect of traffic safety because speed is a factor in the frequency and outcome of every collision, affecting both collision frequency and outcomes. Slowing down while driving gives you more time to react to the unexpected and helps avoid collisions.

The risk of fatality for people struck by a vehicle while walking increases dramatically as driver speed increases above 30 km/h.

Costs

How much will this change cost taxpayers?

This project will cost approximately $1.1 million, which includes the funding for the manufacturing and installation of speed limit signage and a public education and awareness campaign. Original project budget estimates were higher; however, a refreshed signage approach to reduce the number of road signs on our streets wherever possible has enabled the City Safe Speeds - Signage Plan for 40km/h to reduce expected costs significantly. This project is funded through the Traffic Safety Automated Enforcement Reserve and not through tax levy.

Should this be a priority given the state of the economy due to COVID-19?

Traffic safety is a key mechanism for supporting a healthy city, liveable urban places, climate resilience and a prosperous regional economy and safe speeds are an important aspect of achieving Vision Zero goals through increased safety and livability.

Safe speeds positively impact both collision frequency and outcomes and increase active modes of travel, narrow inequities, create greater social inclusion and support community cohesion.

For More Information

311 Contact Centre

Online Contact 311 Online
Telephone

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555

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