District of Squamish plans on reducing residential speed limit to 40 km/h | Squamish Chief

District of Squamish plans on reducing residential speed limit to 40 km/h

Three-year pilot project is expected to start next year

The District will likely be piloting a speed reduction program that would bring speed limits down to 40 kilometres per hour on roads that lack solid yellow lines, which roughly coincides with residential streets in town.

A District staff report says the default municipal speed limit set by the province is 50 kilometres per hour.

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This pilot is expected to start sometime next year and last for three years. This initiative is happening because the province is giving municipalities the chance to pilot reduced speed limits in areas of their choosing.

On July 28, municipal council voted in favour of this motion in a 5-2 decision. Councillors Jenna Stoner and Armand Hurford were the dissenting votes, as they wanted a stricter 30-kilometre limit in those areas. As this vote happened in a committee of the whole, it is not final and will still have to be ratified at a later date.

Stoner said that a 40-kilometre zone adds more confusion, as it will create four different speed zones — the highway limit, the 50-kilometre municipal default, the 40-kilometre pilot and 30-kilometre school zones.

Making the pilot areas 30 kilometres will help alleviate that confusion, as there will be three speed zones, which is how things are at the moment.

"I do appreciate the direction it's going, I think it goes relatively in the right direction," said Stoner. "I do think the messaging gets really confusing really quickly."

Others on council, like Mayor Karen Elliott, said that they did not want to make such a big change so quickly, and were concerned that reducing speed to 30 kilometres could affect transit.

"I'm worried about the impact on transit without having a really good sense of what that is at the moment," said Elliott. "Thirty kilometres an hour is a lot slower, and I don't want to put our transit system at risk at a time when we're trying to build it back up."

Coun. John French said that slowing things down to 30 kilometres per hour would be too drastic at this point.

"We live in an impatient 'now' car-culture world," he said.

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