Saskatoon Transit says lowering residential speed limits will affect service

Lowering speed limits along residential and collector streets will hurt transit service, Saskatoon Transit says in a report to the city’s transportation committee.

“A reduction change in speed limit along residential streets and collector streets will impact Saskatoon Transit’s delivery of total service hours to the City’s overall transit network,” the report says.

“Some routes would be impacted to a greater effect than others. In some cases, some routes may be impacted minimally while in other cases with greater impact.”

It adds Transit cannot state how these service hours would be affected until there is further analysis, but it is preparing for a more detailed response.

“Based on our initial analysis, there are many factors to consider which all contribute to overall bus travel times, frequency and average bus speeds. This level of data collection and analysis is doable but will require more time.”

Saskatoon’s transportation committee is set to discuss a recommendation to lower speed limits to 40 km/h on local and collector streets in residential areas at its meeting on Sept. 7.

According to a city news release, council members have received repeated concerns over speeding, which were also expressed at neighbourhood traffic review engagement events.

The city says collision data and traffic safety best practices show that lower speeds on residential streets will reduce the number of crashes and the seriousness of traffic-related injuries and deaths.

The release said that nearly two-thirds of respondents from an open survey of nearly 15,000 respondents prefer no change to the speed limit on all streets; about half of those who responded to a third-party supplemental survey prefer a speed limit lower than 50 km/h on local streets in residential areas.

According to a city report Calgary and Edmonton have "very recently" lowered their residential speed limits to 40 km/h.

The cost to change signage is estimated to be between $400,000 and $600,000.

The committee's recommendation will be debated at the Sept. 30 City Council meeting.

Once council makes a decision about changing speed limits, administration will present options for speed limits in school and playground zones and areas of high concentration of seniors and dedicated neighbourhood bikeways.

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