On Monday October 18, 2021 Kitchener Council passed a motion to reduce speeds on Residential Streets from 50kmh to 40kmh. Neighbourhoods have begun to be converted to the lower speed limit. It will take until 2024 to fully convert all zones in the city. The lower speed limit is in effect in a given neighbourhood when “gateway” signs are installed at the entrances and exits to the neighbourhood. This informs drivers they're entering or exiting a lower speed limit area. School zones and neighbourhood bikeways will be reduced to 30 km/h. Major city roads and all regional roads will remain at 50 km/h.
I initiated a pilot project through our Love My Hood Neighbourhood Office and our Transportation Team to provide free Drive Slow signs. I have some left and would be happy to deliver one to any Ward 2 resident. just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kitchener has various Traffic and Transportation Projects underway. They include 40 KMH SPEED LIMIT, VISION ZERO, COMPLETE STREETS, SLOW STREETS, PEDESTRIAN FIRST STREETS. For information on them, click HERE
The lowering of speeds is important for safety. Lower speeds allow drivers to scan the roadway and intersections for pedestrians, children, or unusual movement and that lowers the potential for a collision to happen. If a pedestrian is hit by a car travelling 50km/h their chances of survival are about 15%. When travelling a 40km/h their chances of survival increase to 70%. Lower speeds increase safety. Speed on Residential Streets is an issue residents contact me often about. I welcome your concerns. I've been involved with 5 Traffic Calming Projects in our Ward. The challenge our staff face is how to change driver behaviour so the speed limit is followed.
Speed Humps are often requested as a solution. The unfortunate result of Speed Humps is drivers slow down temporarily, but then speed up to make up for the time they perceive they lost slowing down for them. Heritage Drive off of Ottawa Street is one of the most heavily speed humped streets in the City and we still receive speeding complaints on that street.
Another consideration is from our Fire Department and Emergency Services. They must meet Provincially regulated response times. Each speed hump they encounter slows them down by 10 seconds, so responding to a fire or medical incident is delayed. Fire Services are the first to arrive at a medical emergency to administer CPR or a defibrillator. They attend to the patient and keep them alive until Ambulance Services arrive. Speed Humps add extra time for Ambulance Services to arrive and then to transport the patient to a hospital. In a medical emergency every second matters. If adding speed humps would cause them to not meet their legislated response time, speed humps cannot be used.
Stop Signs are under the control of the Ministry Of Transportation and can only be used to control traffic, not speed. Statistics show that stop signs can have the opposite effect on speed. Like Speed Humps, drivers want to make up for lost time and speed up after stopping.
We're often asked for Police to come to a street to enforce speed limits. Since they look after, Kitchener, Waterloo and the Townships, they receive a lot of requests. To flag Speeding Issues with Waterloo Regional Police click HERE You can also report things like erratic and dangerous driving and school bus or truck violations.
We can play a significant role by observing the speed limit when we drive on all residential streets and especially in and around school zones.
The City is currently creating a Vision Zero Strategy to improve safety on our streets. Details on that and other Transportation Projects can be found HERE
Details on Kitchener's Formal, Seasonal and Traffic Calming Programs are found HERE
Details on Resident Led Traffic Calming through our Neighbourhood Strategy Love My Hood Program are HERE
The Region of Waterloo will begin administering Automatic Speed Enforcement as a pilot project. These cameras can detect speeding, take a picture of the license plate and a ticket can be issued for speeding. Their Staff Report can be read HERE
Information on the Region's ASE program can be found HERE
The Region allowed Kitchener to select one school zone for their ASE Camera location. That school zone is Franklin Public School on Franklin Street. The posted speed limit on the street is 40 and in the school zone, 30. The average speed through that zone was 62. The Region of Waterloo had 2 Cameras to place throughout the Region and one of those will be in Kitchener in the Westheights School Zone on Westheights Drive. The posted limit is 40 and the average speed there was 60. You can read the City of Kitchener's Report on Automated Speed Enforcement HERE
If you would like to contact the Region Of Waterloo Councillors to ask that ASE cameras to be used beyond school zones and on residential streets to improve safety, the link to email them as a group is HERE