My general reaction to speed limits is that those who design the laws are lazy. They take a one size fits all approach.
Driving 50kms per hour on some City streets is crazy. You can’t get up to that speed without hitting a stop sign and trying to do so is like drag racing. Similarly some streets, like our Mountain accesses, are almost of highway design and driving at 50kms is far too slow.
There is lots of science on speed limits and I will post some of it if anyone cares. But the gist of it is that traffic usually flows at a speed “naturally” suited to the environment.
For our City, I would suggest that 40 kms per hour should be the absolute maximum on non-through streets. If you post that on a sign entering the city you do not have to post it everywhere. Through streets can be 50kms per hour and not posted. Anything else should be posted.
My views on punishment are that if speed limits are real limits, and not just suggestions, the penalties for disobeying them should be more severe than they are. Let me give you some examples.
Most 400 series highways and many country roads have ridiculously low speed limits. I call it the Catholic Church Syndrome – make a lot of rules and hope that people obey 50% of them.
If the speed limit on a highway was truly 130 kms per hour, and that was THE limit, then anyone going faster than that should get demerit points. Why not say you can drive 130, but if you go 135 you get 3 points and 6 points for 140 and you lose your license if you go 145? similarly in a city like ours, if you go 41 in a 40 you get 3 points – no exceptions.
There are potentially much more serious repercussions if someone speeds in a true safety zone. My view is that non-through side streets are true safety zones.
So, I would lower the speed limits in some area and raise them in others but I would enforce them.
Also, the laws should never be used as a revenue generator. That denigrates the law and brings it into what I have heard lawyers call “disrepute.”
Most people are terrified of cheating on their taxes (which is a criminal offense.) Why? Because you have to pay the tax, plus punitive interest PLUS a penalty usually equal to the tax.
My guess is that if you got 6 points for driving 50 in a 40, or 60 in a 50, you very likely wouldn’t speed.
What this means is that we need Provincial help because alderman cannot change the Highway Traffic Act. But lowering the the speed limit City wide on non-through streets, and raising it where it should be raised and enforcing that would be a start.
We could start on Main Street and ticket anyone going over 50k no matter what.