30 Km/h Speed Limits in Downtown Toronto and East York

Update:

Toronto and East York Community Council, consisting of 11 City Councillors, unanimously voted in favour of reducing speeds from 40 km/h down to 30 km/h. This will affect 400 kilometres of roads, thousands of city blocks in the downtown core and in East York. New signage is expected to be in place commencing in the fall of 2015.
Toronto and East York Community Council, consisting of 12 City Councillors, unanimously voted in favour of reducing speeds from 40 km/h down to 30 km/h. This will affect 387 kilometres of roads, thousands of city blocks in the downtown core and in East York. New street signage is expected to be in place commencing in the fall of 2015.

All the speakers at the Toronto and East York Community Council spoke in favour of lowering speed limits in neighbourhoods in the downtown core and in East York. The Council listened to fifteen deputants.  Only one of the deputants were opposed to the idea. A majority of the deputants supported lowering the speed limit to 30 km/h and many urged the Council to go even further.

Most councillors that spoke to this issue, indicated that their constituents were bringing these concerns to their offices regularly.

The cost to change signage in downtown Toronto and East York residential neighbourhoods is estimated to be $1.1 million.
The cost to change signage in downtown Toronto and East York residential neighbourhoods is estimated to be $1.1 million.

Safety was at the top of the agenda. The link between lowering speeds, which would lower deaths, was repeated again and again by councillors speaking in favour of this motion.

It was said that the chance for surviving an accident in which the vehicle was travelling 40 km/h was 50%, whereas the chance for surviving an accident in the vehicle was travelling at 30 km/h was 90%.

It was said that at one time, each street in which residents wanted to have their street speed limits lowered, would have to be debated one street at a time and that if it was supported, speed bumps (as a traffic calming measure) would be installed and the posted speed would be reduced to 30 km/h.

Signs that indicate speed bumps on the road. It was said that at one time, each street that residents wanted to have their street speed limits lowered, would have to be debated one street at a time and that if it was supported, speed bumps would be installed.
Signs that indicate speed bumps on the road. It was said that at one time, each street that residents wanted to have their street speed limits lowered to 30 km/h, would have to be debated one street at a time and that if it was supported, speed bumps would be installed as a traffic calming measure.

It was mentioned that this move was supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Provincial Coroner and Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health.

  • According to the WHO, if a vehicle travelling 80 km/h comes into contact with you, your most likely going to die and,
  • If the vehicle’s going 45 km/h, your odds of living rise to about 50-50 and,
  • If the vehicle’s going 30 km/h or less, you have a 90 per cent chance of surviving.

On April 30, 2012, Dr. David McKeown Medical Officer of Health For the City of Toronto, in collaboration with the General Manager of Transportation Services released a recommendation (In a report named: Road to Health: A Healthy Toronto by Design Report) that stated, in part, “Reducing vehicle speed limits to 30 km/hr on residential streets and adopting a city-wide speed limit of 40 km/hr on all other streets, unless otherwise posted;”. This recommendation has now been adopted in downtown Toronto and East York.

There was no budget for the signage replacement of $1 million, but the money will be found and the signs will begin to be changed in September, 2015.
There was no budget for the signage replacement of $1 million, but the money will be found and the signs will begin to be changed in September, 2015.

It was also mentioned that there is a trend where European cities are beginning to lower their speed limits to 30 km/h: 34 cities in the United Kingdom, Gaz, Austria (1992), Spain (2013) and others.

This motion, which lowers the speed limit, will affect 387 kilometres of Toronto’s and East York’s local roads.

Dr. David McKeown (Toronto's Medical Officer of Health) has been calling for a reduction in speed down to 30 km/h since 2012.
Dr. David McKeown (Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health) has been calling for a reduction in speed down to 30 km/h since 2012.

City staff reported that the lowering the speed limit will necessitate the change of approximately 4,450 signs (which may take years), as well as the need to adjust 310 traffic signals.  It is estimated that all the changes will cost about $1.1 milion dollars.

There is a well established impact of vehicle speed on death, where “the fatality risk at 50km/hr being more than twice as high as the risk at 40 km/hr and more than five times higher than the risk at 30 km/hr.”

It is hoped by all that discussed this and passed this motion, that people will be much safer on the roads of Toronto.

Toronto and East York Community Council (in which 12 councillors were present) began the meeting after 6 p.m. and voted unanimously in favour of lowering speed limits to 30 km/h in those neighbourhoods shortly after 9:00 p.m.

The same council will be discussing lowering the speeds on some streets from 50 km/h to 30 km/h in the future.

There are 44 wards in Toronto, each represented by a City of Toronto Councillor.  Here is a list of twelve (12) City Councillors, representing 12 out of 44 wards, that voted in favour of lowering the residential speed limits to 30 km/h:

Wards that would be affected:

  • 14 (Parkdale-High Park) Gord Perks
  • 18 (Davenport) Ana Bailao
  • 19 (Trinity-Spadina) Mike Layton
  • 20 (Trinity-Spadina) Joe Cressy
  • 21 (St. Paul’s) Joe Mihevc
  • 22 (St. Paul’s) Josh Matlow
  • 27 (Toronto Centre-Rosedale) Kristyn Wong-Tam
  • 28 (Toronto Centre-Rosedale) Pam McConnell
  • 29 (Toronto-Danforth) Mary Fragedakis
  • 30 (Toronto-Danforth) Paula Fletcher
  • 31 (Beaches-East York) Janet Davis
  • 32 (Beaches-East York) Mary-Margaret McMahon

Here is a map of the 44 wards in the City of Toronto:

The speed reduction to 30 km/h will affect the following wards: 14,18,19,20,21,22,27,28,29,30,31 & 32.
The speed reduction to 30 km/h will affect the following wards:
14,18,19,20,21,22,27,28,29,30,31 & 32.

Update: see the decision and minutes of the June 22, 2015 Toronto and East York Community Council.

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