Kitchener implements 40km/h speed limit in residential neighbourhoods

By: Kw Now Local News
| Published 10/19/2021

“The move to 40km/h is an important step in improving roadway safety'
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Kitchener implements 40km/h speed limit in residential neighbourhoods

'One of the most common concerns we hear from residents is speeding on quiet residential roads.” - Mayor Berry Vrbanovic

KITCHENER – The City of Kitchener has endorsed a plan that will reduce the speed limit in residential neighbourhoods from 50km/h to 40km/h over the next two to three years. Signs will be placed at the entrances and exits of identified neighbourhoods to make streets safer.

The new speed limit for residential neighbourhoods was approved last night by Council following a two-year pilot program that used signage and education to implement 40km/h speed limits in three Kitchener neighbourhoods. The pilot program saw average speeds reduced by seven per cent (3km/h) in the pilot neighbourhoods, which City staff say is consistent with the experiences of other cities.

“Whether as Mayor or as a Member of Council, one of the most common concerns we hear from residents is speeding on quiet residential roads,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “The move to 40km/h is an important step in improving roadway safety for all ages and types of transportation, and it sets an ambitious goal as we work towards Vision Zero on Kitchener’s roadways.”

Residential neighbourhoods have been identified throughout Kitchener, and new signage will be installed so that drivers entering and exiting these neighbourhoods will clearly see where the speed limit has transitioned. School zones and neighbourhood bikeways located in these neighbourhoods will see their speed limits reduced from the current limit of 40km/h to 30km/h. Major roadways that connect neighbourhoods or are used for travel across the city will remain at their current speed limit. The new neighbourhood area speed limits will come into effect as the signs are installed, which City staff anticipate will occur over the next two to three years. Over 1,500 streets in Kitchener fall into these residential neighbourhoods, and the total cost of the project is estimated to be $550,000.

The recommendation to move forward with the lower speed limit is an early recommendation of the City’s upcoming Vision Zero strategy – a safety framework that cities around the world are adopting that aims to eliminate serious injuries and deaths caused by traffic collisions. The full Vision Zero strategy will be considered by Council later this year and is currently expected to include a variety of education, enforcement and road design strategies that will help the City achieve safer streets.

“Road safety is a complex issue that can’t be achieved through any single policy,” said ward 10 councillor and vice-chair of the Planning & Strategic Initiatives Committee, Sarah Marsh. “Lowering the speed limit in our neighbourhoods is an important step that helps lay the groundwork for the work that still needs to be done.”

The City of Kitchener is the first in Waterloo Region to implement a lower speed limit in residential neighbourhoods, although similar policies are being considered in Waterloo and Cambridge, which are currently running their own pilot projects. The City of Kitchener’s larger Vision Zero strategy is being developed in consultation with the Region of Waterloo and other area municipalities supporting road users travelling across the region. The Vision Zero strategy is one of the ways the City is achieving its goal of promoting People-Friendly Transportation as outlined in its 2019-2022 Strategic Plan.