Blackfalds is considering lowering its residential speed limit to 40 km/h.

Blackfalds considering reducing town speed limit

Maximum speed on most residential roads would go to 40 km/h

Blackfalds drivers may soon have to ease off on the gas a little in residential neighbourhoods.

Town council is considering reducing the local speed limit to 40 km/h from the more usual 50 km/h.

Public feedback is driving the initiative, which was to be introduced at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“It’s come up quite often at the policing committee,” said Blackfalds chief administrative officer Myron Thompson.

“With the last (election) campaign with council, they were getting a lot of feedback, so we just decided to advance it.

“It seems like something other communities are looking at or have implemented.”

While the residential speed limit would be 40 km/h, the maximum speed would remain higher on arterial roads.

Other communities have tinkered with speed limits. Sylvan Lake reduced the speed along Lakeshore Drive to 30 km/h and on many other residential roads to 40 km/h.

Airdrie changed its residential speed limit to 30 km/h, and both Edmonton and Calgary have talked about lowering speeds as a safety measure.

“Personally, I think it would be a good move in our community,” said Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole. “We look forward to hearing what the public have to say.”

Poole believes there is a lot of support for reducing speed limits in the town, which has many young families.

“It resonates within our community and our citizens.”

Safety is the biggest benefit. As just one example, statistics show that pedestrians hit by a vehicle at 40 km/h are typically hurt much less than if hit by a vehicle going 10 km/h faster.

“It will also make our community a lot safer for cyclists,” said Poole.

There are also the added benefits to the environment of vehicles driving slower and giving off fewer emissions.

The speed limit change is the biggest change in a proposed traffic bylaw, but other tweaks have been suggested as well.

It is proposed that 30 km/h playground zone speed limits be standardized to 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Drivers must reduce speed now from 8:30 a.m. to one hour after sunset.

Some hefty fine increases are also being considered for offences such as hitchhiking or rollerblading or cycling on a sidewalk where it’s prohibited. Those fines would jump to $150 from $30, although Poole cautioned council has yet to make a decision.

A report to council says the fine increases are intended to better reflect the cost of court appearances and other expenses.

The public will have an opportunity to talk about the proposed changes when the bylaw comes back to council on March 12.

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