40 km/h speed limit takes effect on most residential streets in Calgary

Calgary’s new 40 km/h speed limit went into effect on Monday for residential side streets.

The city says that of the nearly 9,000 collisions a year on Calgary side streets, about 550 involve injuries, some fatal.

City council approved lowering the speed limit from 50 to 40 km/h in February, in a bid to improve road safety in neighbourhoods.

Senior city traffic safety engineer Tony Churchill said the plan is driven by public safety.

“At the end of the day, about a quarter of all collisions happen in our neighbourhood roadways, and so this is just a small change, which, in general, matches up with how people are behaving. Just slowing down a little bit will improve safety for Calgarians in their neighbourhoods,” he said.

Work crews have installed about 5,000 new speed limit signs over the past few months.

The city has estimated the speed reduction will save at least $8.1 million a year in costs associated with everything from fatalities to property damage, as well as reduce noise levels.

Const. Randy Macdonald said city police are planning an engagement and education approach at first as drivers adjust. However, he added, speeding won’t be tolerated once that grace period ends.

“For probably a couple of week here, we’re going to key in on education and get the word out that this has happened,” he said.

The city’s website has a map showing where the lower speed limits are in effect. 

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