by Mac Christie Flamborough Review
Hamilton will see more neighbourhoods converted from 50 to 40 km/h speed limits in 2020. – Craig Campbell/ Torstar
The City of Hamilton has begun reducing speed limits in residential neighbourhoods across the city — including in Waterdown and Greensville.
Hamilton city council directed staff in December to begin reducing speed limits within select residential neighbourhoods from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, and 30 km/h in school zones. Signage indicating the reductions is expected to be installed in 45 neighbourhoods each year for the new three years.
Emily Trotta, the City of Hamilton’s communications co-ordinator, said speed limits are expected to be dropped in three areas of Waterdown by summer 2020. The areas in question are bordered by Highway 6, Parkside Drive, Hamilton Street North, and Dundas Street, Highway 6, 5th Concession East, Centre Road and Parkside Drive, and Highway 6, Dundas Street, Mill Street South and the escarpment.
Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge said while the city has been instituting the reduced speed limits in some locations, this will see the change adopted across all residential neighbourhoods. “Implementing speed limit reductions on a neighbourhood basis allows us to meet the safety needs of residents quicker.” -Edward Soldo
“There are some neighbourhoods that have asked for the 40 already and we did put some in. I believe in Waterdown there are a couple, certainly Millgrove Side Road we reduced to 40.”
Partridge said traffic speeds are something she hears about regularly from Waterdown residents — especially in relation to cut-through commuter traffic.
“We just put a three-way stop in at Hamilton Street South and Barton Street,” she said. “The traffic has just been horrendous through there.
“The people that are using that route are trying to avoid Dundas Street.”
In May 2017, the province passed the Safer School Zone Act, which permits municipalities to reduce speed limits in a neighbourhood by neighbourhood basis. Meanwhile, in February 2019, the Hamilton city council approved the approved the Hamilton Strategic Road Safety Program and Vision Zero Action Plan, which identified the need for reduced speed limits on local residential roadways and in designated school zones. The changes will not impact arterial roads.
According to the World Health Organization, pedestrians have a 90 per cent chance of surviving a car crash a 30 km/h or below — the World Health Organization’s recommended speed limit for areas where vulnerable road uses are particularly at risk.
In a press release, the City of Hamilton said a pedestrian’s chance of survival is 41 per cent higher if struck by a car driving 40 km/h than a car driving 50 km/h, because a slower moving vehicle requires less distance to stop and gives the driver more time to react.
“The city receives approximately 700 requests annually from residents concerned with speeding and dangerous driving on residential roads,” said transportation operations and maintenance director Edward Soldo. “Servicing these requests on a case-by-case basis is costly and inefficient, so implementing speed limit reductions on a neighbourhood basis allows us to meet the safety needs of residents quicker.”