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Regina's Cathedral neighbourhood could soon have a reduced speed limit

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A mandatory 30 kilometre per hour (km/h) speed limit could soon be implemented in Regina’s Cathedral neighbourhood, according to the city.

As part of what it calls a “Vision Zero” approach to road safety, the City of Regina is hoping to reduce the number of collisions resulting in major injuries or fatalities on roadways throughout the city and one way to do that may be through reduced speed limits in some areas.

Similar programs have already been implemented in other cities around the world including Edmonton, Alta., Warsaw, Poland and the entire country of Sweden.

Cathedral area resident, Nicole Standlund told city executive committee Wednesday there is a lot to love about the neighbourhood.

“The beauty of [Cathedral] and the reason why many chose to live here is the walkability of the neighbourhood,” she said. “In terms of good urban design, there’s a lot this neighbourhood got right.”

Cathedral features many local small businesses as well as access to bigger grocery stores and other services within close proximity to a large number of Regina’s residents.

However, Standlund believes there are some things that make the area less safe for pedestrians.

“[There] is a ridiculously high speed limit for a dense, mixed-used neighbourhood with tight residential streets,” she said. “And a lack of protected active transport throughout.”

According to Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) data provided by the city, a total of 26,254 motor vehicle collisions occurred in Regina from 2015 to 2019.

Nineteen of those were fatal and 134 resulted in a major injury.

“[Vision Zero] is about focusing on the fact that traffic deaths are preventable,” city manager of traffic engineering Caroline Kalim said.

During its data collection phase, the city says some Regina neighbourhoods saw more collisions than was acceptable for the Vision Zero framework.

Cathedral was one of them.

Kalim pointed to two fatalities that occurred in the neighbourhood in 2023 alone which led the city to advance the framework into action.

“One had a pedestrian corridor and the other did not,” she explained.

Administration’s recommendation is to create the city’s first “Community Safety Zone,” which would bring the speed limit in the Cathedral area down to 30km/h from 50km/h.

“It’s really about the interior streets,” Kalim explained. “Many of the vehicles travelling there now are already travelling at speeds less than 50km/h naturally because of the narrow streets, parking and frequent yielding to pedestrians.”

Administration believes 13th Avenue could be a street where drivers are less likely to comply with the voluntary speed limit.

In response, the framework would bring some large scale traffic calming measures to that street in response to the collision data.

Administration will bring forward those ideas later in the year.

“This will have a more harmonizing effect on the expectations for pedestrians and vehicles in the area,” Kalim added.

Administration says a successful implementation will require $1.5 million in annual funding.

Estimated costs could be around $7.5 million over the next five years and is already approved in the 2024 city budget.

Area ward coun. Andrew Stevens said he received dozens of emails from residents asking for plans similar to what administration proposed following the 2023 deaths.

“I am struck by how much support there has been,” he said. “I will take 1,000 angry calls because someone has to go 30 rather than take calls about someone dying.”

“Concerns of speeding, traffic calming and stunting has been an issue since [I’ve been elected],” said Ward 1 Coun. Cheryl Stadnichuk. “People want to see lower speed limits in residential areas.”

Ward 4 Coun. Bob Hawkins said residents in his area could be impacted by the changes, even if they do not live in the area.

He wants to see more public consultation before the city implements the ideas.

“I’m very reluctant to see this happen in one city zone in isolation,” he said.

Hawkins suggested the committee refer administration’s proposal to allow for extra consultation.

“There is safety concerns in this area,” said Kurtis Doney, deputy city manager of city operations. “That’s why we have brought forward data-driven framework to reduce the speed.”

“More than just Cathedral is involved in this,” Hawkins added. “There is a real shortage of public feedback that makes it difficult to make a decision here.”

The motion was defeated, leading to executive’s passing of the administration’s recommendations.

“The framework is excellent,” Mayor Sandra Masters told reporters following the meeting. “Reduced speed is a welcomed first measure.”

They will now be discussed at city council on April 10.

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