Winnipeggers drive debate over speed limit reduction
WINNIPEG -- Two dueling petitions in Winnipeg are driving the debate over changing the default speed limit of 50 kilometers per hour.
People are signing petitions for and against a 30 kilometer maximum ahead of a report expected this spring at city hall on speed limits.
So far, the petition in favour of keeping the current speed limit is gaining more traction, with over 1700 signatures.
"The logic determines what is a comfortable, what is a comfortable speed, it's not artificial speed limits that should determine this is too fast or this is too slow," said Werner Hohler, who lives on a street where the default speed limit is 50 kilometers per hour.
He says because of how narrow his road is and parked cars, most drivers don't even get to 50.
Hohler recently signed the petition against lowering the limit over concerns the change would be more about enforcement revenue than safety.
"I don't believe the city has a pure motive behind that," he said.
The online petition was started by Scott Montague and has more than 17 hundred signatures. In a statement to CTV News he said a minority, but vocal group of citizens, is lobbying the city to lower speed limits to 30 kilometers per hour and he's concerned about that.
“The purpose of this petition is to show our local politicians that we, a group of drivers and other concerned residents, want to keep the status quo. I am of the opinion that the majority of Winnipeggers will agree with my cause," he said.
SLOW AND STEADY
One of those other citizen groups is Safe Speeds Winnipeg. It says research shows slower speeds save lives.
"You significantly reduce injuries and fatalities when you go to 30," said Sylvia Buchholz from safe speeds Winnipeg.
Safe Speeds Winnipeg has a petition to lower the speed to 30, but only has a few hundred signatures.
The petition has been up for several months and Safe speeds Winnipeg says it is not promoting its petition because it believes changing speed limits should not be determined by public opinion but by science and research.
Safe Speeds Winnipeg says it's only trying to change the speed limits on residential roads.
"We're certainly hoping that they adopt 30 kilometers per hour as a default speed and again this doesn't touch the main thoroughfares this impacts residential areas," said Buchholz
But Werner Hohler worries a reduction in speed limits wouldn't stop at residential streets
"To lump everything every problem on the back of motorists is absolutely unfair," said Hohler.
Other Canadian cities like Vancouver and Calgary have looked at lowering their residential street speed limit.