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People don’t like to admit they’re wrong, but somebody may have had to eat crow on the up-again, down-again speed limit on the Bayview Extension.
We reported last June that the speed limit on the four lane road, from south of Moore Ave. to the River St. exit was cut from 60 to 50 km/h, after it was reduced from 70 to 60 km/h in 2011.
It’s a key rush-hour route in and out of the downtown core, so cutting the speed limit twice in five years by a total of 20 km/h rubbed a lot of drivers the wrong way and made it a dead-easy speed trap fishing hole for police.
When we asked about it, a transportation services official said it was part of the city’s Vision Zero road safety plan, which was adopted in 2016 and calls for lower speeds on all city streets to reduce the danger of speeding traffic.
Among the reasons for lowering the limit was a cycling and recreational trail that runs beside the road but is separated from it by a waist-high guard rail. With such a stout barrier, it seemed like overkill to many drivers.
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But something changed along the way. Star editor Doug Cudmore sent us a note saying he noticed that the posted speed limit sign was recently restored to 60 km/h.
Talk about a total reversal.
So we looked for an explanation and found a staff report from transportation services, based on a traffic study that concluded it is actually safer for traffic to travel at 60 km/h.
It said a review of the roadway “included undertaking speed studies, and looking at the road design, road environment and collision history, in order to determine the most appropriate regulatory speed limit.
Speed studies were done on Aug. 15 and 16, between Pottery Rd. and the River St. ramp. The conclusion?
“The studies confirmed that there is currently a differential of 24 to 30 km/h between the operating speed and the regulatory speed limit.
“Significant differentials in speed are not desirable as they can lead to aggressive driving, rear-end collisions and potentially make the road environment less safe for vulnerable road users crossing at intersections.
“In addition, more detailed examination of the data shows that a greater per cent of traffic travels between 60 and 70 km/h compared to the per cent of traffic travelling below 60 km/h. This suggests that a 60 km/h or 70 km/h speed limit would be more appropriate than the currently regulated 50 km/h.”
In other words, the city is admitting that 50 km/h is too slow, and that the Bayview Extension’s original 70 km/h speed limit still reflects the natural speed of traffic.
The decision has implications for many other streets. More on that soon.
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