Drivers on Saanich roads will soon have to lay off the gas pedal as speed limits within the district’s borders could be reduced starting this spring.
Council voted unanimously to lower speed limits along nine priority corridors at a meeting Monday (March 13), after directing staff to evaluate those corridors last July.
A staff report at the time said that a person hit by car going 56 kilometres per hour is five times more likely to die than someone hit by one going just 32 km/h.
“We are moving towards eliminating serious injury and fatalities on our roads,” said Mayor Dean Murdock. “There’s more work to be done in terms of education and road design work that will come over time, but this is a very important step in a positive direction.”
Speed will be limited to 40 km/h on Gorge Road West, Tillicum Road, Saanich Road and the entire seaside route from Cadboro Bay Road to Cordova Bay Road, while the speed limit on PKOLS/Mount Douglas Park’s summit road will be lowered to 25 km/h.
The default speed limit for municipal streets in the province is 50 km/h.
A 40 km/h speed limit will also be observed along Cedar Hill Cross Road, where 16-year-old Kaydence Bourque was killed in a marked crosswalk in December 2021.
Murdock said the municipality’s recent efforts to have speed limits reduced have largely been in response to the teenager’s death just over a year ago.
“Reducing speeds does save lives, but you need to pair it with education, traffic calming and enforcement,” said Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff. “And Saanich is doing that — we have our road safety plan and a host of education programs, which is part of a broader suite of policies that Saanich is taking.”
District staff looked at the distances between road users and the presence of vulnerable road users, as well as the density of potential roadway conflict areas to determine suitable changes to speed limits.
The changes are expected to go into effect beginning in April, according to staff.
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