Jo-Anne Chambers of Fix Ash Road Now will be out most mornings this week asking drivers to slow down as they approach the intersection of Torquay Drive in Gordon Head. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

Saanich seeks power to lower speed limits

Saanich will have the power to lower speed limits to 30 km/h under changes

Proposed changes to a provincial law could give Saanich the power to set its own default speed as the municipality joins a growing number of communities lobbying for safer roads.

The proposed changes would give Saanich the power to establish a default speed limit for unsigned highways within its boundaries and establish a default provincial speed limit of 30 km/h for local streets without yellow centre lines. (Municipalities could raise speed limits on local streets on a case-by-case basis by bylaw and posted signage).

Saanich Monday added its voice to these recommendations in endorsing a report from the Road Safety Law Reform Group of British Columbia, a consortium of representatives from the legal community, cycling organizations and research institutions.

“We seek to make roads safer for vulnerable road users —including pedestrians, cyclists and children — by advocating for evidence-based reforms that will modernize the province’s rules of the road in accordance with the BC government’s vision,” said the group in a June 2016 report that calls for far-reaching changes to the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act first passed in 1957.

RELATED: Video: Girl struck by two cars in Saanich intersection

RELATED: Leila Bui returns home to Gordon Head after six months

A number of communities and organizations including the Union of British Columbia Municipalities at its recent convention in Whistler have since endorsed the 26 recommendations in the report against the backdrop of local and provincial efforts to improve road safety against the backdrop of incidents like the one that left an 11-year-old Saanich girl in a non-responsive state.

B.C., for example, is currently working “toward the ultimate goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2020” and the Road Safety Law Reform Group of British Columbia believes its plan can help the province meet that goal.

Elsewhere in the region, Victoria’s Lisa Helps is campaigning on the promise to limit speeds on low-traffic and residential streets to 30 km/h after lowering speeds on some roads to 40 km/h.

Coun. Dean Murdock praised the proposed changes and council signalled its support. Slower speed limits end up protecting all users, especially vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, whose numbers have increased significantly since the act’s introduction, Murdock said.

“The Motor Vehicle Act doesn’t really reflect the rights and responsibilities of the folks who travel outside of an automobile,” he said.

RELATED: Saanich group pushes for increased safety at site of serious crash

RELATED: Advocates take to Ash Road to slow drivers

Drawing most of the attention during Monday’s discussion were two related recommendations: the first, if approved, would give municipalities the power to set a default speed limit for unsigned highways within their boundaries by bylaw and posting of signs at the municipal boundary.

Municipalities currently lack this power. If Saanich wanted to establish a municipal default speed of 30 km/h (unless posted otherwise), it would have to pass a bylaw and sign each block, a cumbersome, not to mention expensive proposition.

RELATED: Victoria mayor makes pitch for lower speeds on local roads

“The present system requires a municipality to commit substantial resources in order to adopt a municipal-wide default speed limit that differs from the provincially mandated 50 km/h,” the report notes.

The second recommendation would establish a default provincial speed limit of 30 km/h for local streets that lack a yellow center line.

Coun. Colin Plant said these changes underscore the need for greater regional cooperation, if endorsed.

“This is yet another example of how we need to harmonize our transporation network around the region, because if each municipality is given this autonomy, what a farce it would be, if it were different in every jurisdiction,” he said.

As for the efficacy of Saanich’s support for the changes, Plant was outright optimistic.

“If it adds fuel to the fire, burn baby, burn,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Access: Greater Victoria non-profit brings the outdoors to people of all abilities

Power To Be’s Adaptive Recreation Program allows people of all ages and abilities to get outside

Black Press Media celebrates women who are making a difference

Helping others is the cornerstone of the work Shannon Drew does in… Continue reading

Goldstream Food Bank on the search to fill Christmas Hampers with toys

Volunteers are looking for new toys for infants to 11-year-olds

VIDEO: Explosion, fire sends woman running from Saanich home

Heavy smoke in the area, crews on scene

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read