City of London committee backs motion to look at reducing speeds in residential neighbourhoods

Lower residential speed limits, photo radar and larger fines for speeding could be in London’s future.

On Tuesday, the civic works committee voted 5-1 in favour of consultations to lower speed limits to 40 km/h in residential areas and to look at photo radar and increasing fines.

Although not a member of the committee, Ward 5 Coun. Maureen Cassidy pushed them to move forward with efforts to reduce speeds in neighbourhoods.

“The number 1 phone call and email that I get is absolutely about speeding in neighbourhoods.”

“Even campaigning in 2014, knocking on doors, I was asked to do something about speeding traffic,” she said.

According to city staff, the risk of a fatal collision between a pedestrian and a vehicle increases significantly when vehicles are travelling over 40 km/h.

Cassidy said reducing speed limits is something London needs to do, adding the city finally has the tools to make it happen.

“This is what the Safe Schools Act gives us — all of the tools in the toolbox,” said Cassidy.

“Not only [are we] able to set a lower speed limit, but [we] also have the tools to enforce the speed limit, which was always a bit of a stumbling block,” she said.

“It’s fine to set an artificial speed limit if you can’t enforce it, but we now have tools for enforcement.”

Mayor Ed Holder was the only member of the committee to vote against the motion, believing city politicians were getting ahead of themselves over what the speed limit should be lowered to, and if it should be lowered at all.

“These might be exactly the right recommendations, I’m not here to challenge that at all, but it seems absolutely presumptuous to me that we’re telling civic administration, ‘[G]o back and come back with this result,’ which is effectively what this motion is saying, versus ‘[G]o back and let’s have public participation,’” said Holder.

Consultation with the public will take place over the summer with the results coming back before council in the fall.

Three years ago, London city council lowered speed limits in school zones to 40 km/h.

— with files from Devon Peacock

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