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'Not a village': Speed limit to remain 50 km/h in Regina's Cathedral area for now


A lengthy city council meeting Wednesday came to a close with councillors unable to approve a vital aspect of the Regina’s “Vision Zero” plan while passing framework to make the city more accessible.

A key aspect of Vision Zero was the implementation of the city’s first “Community Safety Zone” in the Cathedral Neighbourhood.

Administration recommended all speed limits within the zone be reduced from 50 kilometres per hour (km/h) to 30 km/h.

“Vision Zero is a systematic approach,” deputy manager of city operations Kurtis Doney told council. “One approach is to reduce the speeds but there’s many other things that we plan to implement.”

In his delegation to council, Cathedral Community Association spokesperson Jonathon Lorence said the neighbourhood supported the sweeping changes.

“Residents must feel safe and comfortable,” he said. “High-speed traffic, among other infrastructure issues, are barriers to community members feelings safe.”

Administration’s recommendations were streamlined following two pedestrian deaths on 13th Avenue last year.

A study cited by administration says pedestrians have just a 10 per cent survival rate when struck by a vehicle going 50 km/h. Those chances increase to 90 per cent at 30km/h.

City council ultimately slammed the brakes on approving the plan Wednesday.

Councillors locked in a lengthy debate over if 30bkm/h was too drastic a change.

“A lot of folks are for or against,” Ward 5 Coun. John Findura said. “What if we left just 13th Avenue at 30 [km/h]?”

“We would increase traffic on the other east-west [streets],” Doney responded. “Potentially increasing the risk on those roads.”

In an attempt to find middle ground on the subject, Findura proposed an amendment to change the speed limit to 40 km/h throughout the neighbourhood, except in school and playground zones.

“It’s important to have a balance,” he said.

At a 40 km/h speed, administration’s statistics showed the likelihood of pedestrian fatality is 30 per cent.

“Fatality rates are higher among seniors and children,” city manager of traffic engineering Caroline Kalim said.

The zone is in the heart of Ward 3.

Area Coun. Andrew Stevens said residents have been requesting these changes for years.

“I have harassed traffic engineers to the point I’ve printed my own speed limit signs,” he said. “Everything I have done on this file has been from a genuine need.”

Other councillors felt enough data does not exist to support the drastic changes as part of administration’s recommendations.

“Before you do a drastic change, normally you examine in depth what that change is,” Ward 2 Coun. Bob Hawkins said.

“This is a city, not a village,” said Ward 9 Coun. Jason Mancinelli. “We need a transportation network. I don’t see any data about future years [or] traffic counts.”

“As always, everything seems so timely and has to be pushed through,” he added.

Councillors did pass the change to reduce the speed limit to 40 km/h when the amendment was presented.

“I would not recommend city council make decisions or changes to traffic engineering on the floor of council,” Doney said.

“You have a councillor who supports this,” Regina City Manager Niki Anderson said. “Following the Vision Zero principles and evidence that slower speed limits save lives.”

Later in the meeting, when it came time to approve the Vision Zero framework as a whole, the speed limit failed.

“If we don’t have the data, how do we make the appropriate decisions,” Mayor Sandra Masters said after the meeting. “I felt stuck.”

Masters said she believes there are several other changes that could be made aside from just changing the speed limit that would help.

“Our job is to keep folks safe,” she added. “There are things we could already have been doing and frankly need to continue to do.”

The motion was tabled to council’s next meeting on May 8. Top Stories

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