Orillia City Councillor Ralph Cipolla thinks all residential streets in the city should have a maximum speed limit of 40 km/h.
And he has garnered the support of his council colleagues to have city staff explore the concept as a way to “enhance pedestrian safety and encourage active transportation.”
The long-time councillor says he “thinks it’s time we did this.”
He said the cause is personal. His sister’s six-year-old son was killed by a speeding driver in Oshawa after he ran across the road in front of his family’s home.
Cipolla said reducing speed limits on residential streets would “protect our family, our children and our grandchildren ... and makes our streets a little bit safer.”
Coun. David Campbell supported the idea.
“Over the years at the Active Transportation Committee table, this (idea) has been brought up many, many times,” said Campbell.
He referenced statistics noting “the odds of a child surviving being struck by a car, I believe, are increased by 85 percent just by reducing the speed limit from 50 to 40 km/h,” noted Campbell. “That in and of itself, I think … gives a lot of credence to having staff have a look at this.”
Coun. Mason Ainsworth noted that if council did, ultimately, make a decision to reduce the speed limit on “local roads,” that decision would not impact arterial roads which, typically, have a higher speed limit.
He also cautioned that the move could be expensive.
“From folks I spoke to at different municipalities, there is considerable cost (for new) signs, so we need to have that information” from a staff report, he said.
“It would be nice to get information in so we can talk about it at budget,” said Ainsworth. “We’ve had a lot of discussions around traffic calming and other ways to slow people down. I think this is something, hopefully, we could get handled for next year.”
Council agreed to ask staff to explore the feasibility of reducing the speed limit on all local roads, as defined in the City of Orillia Official Plan, to 40 kilometres per hour. A report will come back to council for consideration at a future date.