Saanich is a Vision Zero community and safe mobility for all residents and visitors is at the heart of supporting a sustainable, livable and multi-modal community. As part of this, Saanich will be reviewing the speed limits on nine priority Type B streets (i.e. major and collector streets) and preparing amendments for Council’s consideration.
Speed limit reductions will only come into effect once Council approves amendments to the Streets and Traffic Regulation Bylaw and signage is installed on the streets.
The default speed limit for municipal streets in BC is 50 km/h. This speed limit is set by the province and outlined in the Motor Vehicle Act. Municipal governments do not have the ability to change the default speed limit, but they can regulate speed limits on streets through bylaws and signage.
In July 2022, Saanich Council adopted the Speed Limit Establishment Policy [PDF - 892 KB] and directed staff to conduct Safe Speed Studies on nine priority streets. This decision aligns with District-wide policy to increase active travel modes (walking, cycling and taking the bus), reduce greenhouse gas emissions (by reducing vehicles on the road) and improve livability in our community.
Reducing speed limits can greatly increase the chances of survival for those involved in collisions, particularly those who may be more vulnerable such as pedestrians and cyclists. With adoption of the Speed Limit Establishment Policy Saanich is moving forward with an important road safety initiative.
Be sure to check this webpage for up-to-date information about speed limit changes. You can also watch for updates on the Saanich website (www.saanich.ca) and our social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter). From time to time, local news media will also share information about speed limits.
Residents, land owners, businesses, organizations and schools located adjacent to a street where speed limits are changing, will be contacted prior to any changes.
Vision Zero is an ambitious goal to eliminate all traffic injuries and fatalities while ensuring safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all road users. This includes people who walk, ride a bike, take a bus or drive. Vision Zero is a new paradigm for road safety that recognizes that human error is inevitable and a systems-based approach is needed to address multiple factors affecting road safety including speed limits, road design, education and awareness for road users, enforcement, and vehicle safety.
Why is Saanich reviewing speed limits?
Research has shown that reducing speed limits can make our streets calmer, quieter and safer for people walking, biking, waiting for the bus or driving. By slowing down, drivers have more time to react to unexpected situations and this can reduce the number of severe and/or fatal collisions between motor vehicles and other, more vulnerable road users.
Establishing safe vehicle speeds is a key component of a safe and equitable transportation system and the District is committed to reducing speed limits on residential roads and reviewing and reducing speed limits on collector and major roads as part of a larger effort to improve safety for everyone, regardless of where you live, your ability, or how you get around.
What is the Speed Limit Establishment Policy?
The Speed Limit Establishment Policy is an important step in improving road safety in Saanich. The Policy provides direction to set appropriate speed limits on all streets under Saanich’s jurisdiction and control. This includes urban and rural streets that are classified as residential, collector and major.
Type A streets are streets without a continuous yellow centre line and/or streets where a Neighbourhood Bikeway exists or is proposed in the Active Transportation Plan. The Speed Limit Establishment Policy specifies that the maximum speed limits on Type A streets is 30 km/h.
Type B streets are streets with a continuous yellow centre line and/or streets not defined as Type A streets. The Speed Limit Establishment Policy specifies that the maximum speed limits on Type B streets will be set based on the findings of a Safe Speed Study.
When will speed limits be changing?
There are no immediate changes to speed limits in Saanich. Council has directed Staff to conduct Safe Speed Studies on nine priority streets/corridors starting in fall 2022. Based on the outcomes of those studies, staff will make recommendations to Council for reduced speed limits. Speed limits changes only come into effect when bylaw amendments are passed by Council and signage is installed.
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