Municipalities in British Columbia have the authority to regulate speed limits on their roadways, although they do not currently have the authority to change the default speed limit under the BC Motor Vehicle Act (BC MVA).
Several municipalities across BC, including Saanich, have expressed an interest in having the authority to establish default reduced speed limits in residential areas within their jurisdiction. In 2019, a resolution at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) was put forward asking the Province to provide municipalities the authority to change the default speed limit to allow for community-wide reductions in speed limits.
The Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure (MOTI) has indicated that a Phase 2 intake for Motor Vehicle Act pilot projects will occur with a general theme of projects that increase road safety for vulnerable road users. They have indicated that this will include the potential for pilot speed limit reductions on specific roads or classification of roads.
As a result, the District of Saanich has been working to form a regional proposal to MOTI that would set the statutory speed limit to 40 km/h on streets without a continuous yellow centreline (residential roads). This would apply primarily to roads that are residential in nature and have lower traffic volumes. These changes would not affect school zones, playground zones, or other existing speed zones that have been enacted by bylaw and signs on individual streets. Speeding is a significant contributing factor to collisions and traffic-related injuries and fatalities. In BC, speeding has been a contributing factor in nearly 30% of traffic-related fatalities over the past 10 years.
Key regional stakeholders have been engaged including police agencies, emergency services, other government agencies (such as BC Transit and the CRD), and road safety partners. These key perspectives have been immensely helpful to inform the parameters for the project.
Troy is the Senior Manager of Transportation and Development Services at the District of Saanich and oversees the project planning, design, and implementation of new transportation infrastructure in Saanich. Troy’s area of practice is centered on municipal streets in a mixed urban and rural context, with a focus on retrofitting built environments with modern active transportation infrastructure design principles.
The world of Active Transportation projects and the related design is evolving rapidly and these new ways of re-imagining streets are increasingly complex to design, build, and maintain. Troy is always looking forward to the next unique transportation challenge.