Driving speeds under review on Oak Bay streets

Oak Bay, in co-operation with ICBC, is reviewing speed limits in the municipality

Oak Bay hopes to work out some kinks in speed restrictions on its streets. The district, in co-operation with ICBC, is reviewing speed limits in the municipality.

“We have a number of roads where within the space of about four or five blocks there are potentially three different speed zones, at least when school is in session,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “There is acknowledgement that we do have a series of speed zones that over the years have been developed … this is an opportunity to step back and have larger picture overview of the effects of these speed zones on driving.”

The study results from a concern that the large number of different speed zones throughout Oak Bay might be confusing and potentially unsafe.

The objective of the study is to obtain a rational process for setting speed limits that has been validated by research and practice in North America and around the world.

“It really is something that has been percolating for some time and I know our engineering department has been working with ICBC for some time to come up with this kind of a study,” Jensen said.

A common practice is to measure actual speeds and determine the speed driven by a large majority of the population.

For example, the district found most drivers on Estevan Avenue drive at 32 km/h or less while 85 per cent of drivers on Lansdowne Road were recorded at 46 km/h. Both roads have speed limits of 50 km/h.

They’re also looking at pace, an indicator of the difference in speed on a street. Roads are safest when everyone is going the same speed, minimizing passing and conflict. They’re also looking at compliance – the percentage of drivers going at the speed limit or less.

“It’s primarily a review of the speed limits in the district,” said Dave Marshall, director of engineering in Oak Bay.

“We want to streamline the process of evaluating speed zones and make sure the appropriate speed zones are in place in the municipality.”

The district is working with ICBC and traffic engineering consultants Adept Transportation Solutions.

“The review will certainly include consultation with the public,” Marshall said.

Along with an online survey, sounding boards are up in Henderson and Monterey recreation centre lobbies.

“They’ll be up for two weeks and we want to see a lot of public feedback on these boards,” Marshall said. They’re also planning a public open house later this month.

“We’re looking to wrap up the project in November to get the results back to council,” Marshall said.

Find more information and the speed limit survey online at oakbay.ca or email speedlimit@oakbay.ca.

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