According to UBCM, the probability of survival if a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle travelling at 30 km/h is about 90 per cent, but only 20 per cent at 50 km/h. (Black Press File Photo)

Saanich mayor tasks province with lowering speeds to avoid patchwork of municipal bylaws

Mayor Fred Haynes said it’s also a financial, administrative burden for municipalities

Municipalities across the province have grappled with the issue of reducing residential speed limits for at least two decades, according to the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM). The provincial government currently sets a speed limit of 50 km/h within city limits unless otherwise posted, but many municipalities think it should be lower. Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes is calling on the provincial government to enact province-wide changes to speed limits by updating the provincial Motor Vehicles Act.

This situation is complicated by the relationship between provincial and municipal governments. While municipal governments have the power to enact municipal bylaws to change local speed limits, there are reasons both municipal and provincial governments don’t really want this to happen.

READ MORE: Saanich mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

As Haynes said in a letter he wrote to premier John Horgan on Nov. 18, the “reality” of enacting these bylaws presents an administrative and financial burden to municipalities, as well as lacking the kind of consistency and effectiveness needed to make B.C. roads safer for residents. Municipalities would have to change speed limits for every single road one at a time, and are also charged with posting proper signange for those roads.

During the UBCM conference in September, one of the things agreed on was to ask the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to consider amending the Motor Vehicles Act to allow incorporated municipalities (such as Saanich) to institute blanket speed zones in residential areas. This would remove the need to change speed limits one road at a time.

But Haynes was “disappointed” to receive the response from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, which he said “does not address our needs or the expressed at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.” The response cited the potential challenges of patchwork speed limits and speed enforcement as reasons for declining to make the amendment.

Varying speed limits across neighboring municipalities can cause enforcement issues, as the ministry said, due to challenges to speeding tickets on the basis that motorists can’t reasonably know the applicable speed limits set by bylaws and posted only at entrances to those defined areas.

Haynes’ Nov. 18 letter represents a shift in tactics for Saanich. He is now asking the provincial government to lower blanket residential speed limits to avoid the patchwork quilt that would result if municipalities were to go the bylaw route for lowering speeds, and he plans to get other mayors on board.

READ ALSO: Saanich calls for safety audit after motorcyclist killed on Prospect Lake Road

sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow @yrlocaljourno

Just Posted

Single dad reaches out to Greater Victoria community to help kids celebrate Christmas

A young family was overwhelmed with the warm response from strangers

Victoria resident faces discrimination from BC Transit since transitioning to a wheelchair

Daniel Sands says they are often not allowed on buses, even when there is room

Thief targets staff rooms at Victoria businesses

Surveillance shows man entering staff room where several items were reported stolen

Canada Post carrier seriously injured in Saanich dog attack

The employee was bitten on the hand and arm

Sentencing for Oak Bay father who murdered daughters starts Monday in Victoria

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Andrew Berry’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Suspect steals 150 pairs of cosmetic contacts from Nanaimo party supply store

Incident happened at Pattie’s Party Palace on Rutherford Road on Thursday

B.C. driver has car impounded for speeding to church

The driver, who said he was late to church, was clocked travelling 150 km/hr in a 100 km/hr zone

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Most Read