Calgary drivers are going to have to slow down on residential streets, but has left open the question of what the new speed limit will be.
As far as SAIT students are concerned, a new limit 30 km/h is too slow.
City council voted Sept. 20 to lower the speed limit on residential streets from 50 km/h to 40, or 30 km/h.
But the final decision on the new speed limit won’t be made until city administration has studied the issue, and reported back to council, likely next year.
The change was made, because it would increase a pedestrian’s chance of survival if hit by a vehicle.
According to Statistics Canada, the average Calgary commute includes travelling less than one kilometre through residential areas, adding less than one minute to the typical commute if the change is made.
Eight SAIT students interviewed prior to the council vote were cool to the idea of the speed limit reduction.
Business administration student Erica Anderson said a cut to 30 km/h would be “quite a big drop.”
She said the reduction might be for the worst, because 30 km/h is the same limit as in school zones in Calgary, where some drivers already tend to speed.
“People will think of it [school zones] as the same speed limit as residential areas and really won’t take it seriously.”
Currently, Anderson’s commute in the morning takes almost an hour, and the speed reduction would lengthen her drive even more.
“I agree that 50 km/h is a little too high, but 30 km/h is too slow for all residential areas.”
Rahul Shoor and Larry Novak, also students from the business administration program, said they think the money that would be put towards the change could be used more effectively elsewhere.
“They should keep it 50 km/h, but enforce it more,” said Novak.
“Even if it’s 30 km/h, people will still go 50 km/h,” he said.
Shoor, who commutes to SAIT by public transportation and walking, said that pedestrian safety depends on the driver as much as the pedestrian.
“Always look both ways. Calgary drivers go 10-20 km/h over the limit.”
They suggested that the focus could be shifted towards better crosswalks throughout the city by making them brighter, better signed and more clearly painted on the road.
According to Stefan Veletic, a power engineering student, the change would only make a difference to pedestrian safety if the limits were heavily enforced.
“When money’s involved, people listen,” Veletic said.
He suggested the city of Calgary use tools such as speed cameras to really make an impact on residential speeding, regardless of whether the limit is 50 km/h or 30 km/h.
Veletic said he didn’t care whether the limit is changed, however, as he believes there are more important issues for the council to focus on, such as pipelines and oil accords.
“If you’re in a hurry, you’ll drive what you want. But if you can’t drive your car, it doesn’t matter what speed you go.”