A City Committee has voted to move forward with a public consultation on lowering speed limits in London school zones.
During Monday’s Civic Works Committee meeting, councillors unanimously supported a staff recommendation to seek out the opinion of residents on the issue, and also investigate the idea of dropping the current speed limits to 40 km/hr.
Some councillors, along with the Thames Valley School Board, have said they’d be interested in seeing it lowered even further to 30 km/h.
“Pedestrians are at a big disadvantange when it comes to running into a car. Cars are a lot bigger and heavier, and minimizing the speed the cars are travelling at is key,” said Councillor Jesse Helmer.
“There’s a chart in the report that says the risk of death according to a vehicles speed. It drops from around 70 per cent at 50 kilometres an hour, to less than 30 (per cent) if you’re travelling 40 kilometres an hour, so it makes a big difference.”
The data presented in the report shows that the risk of fatal pedestrian injury drops to 10 per cent at 30 km/hr.
London currently has 103 elementary schools, 22 secondary schools, and 6 private schools. The majority of those schools are on roads with speed limits of 50 km/hr.
According to the Ontario Traffic Manual, school zone speed limit signs are required at the beginning of each zone, approximately 150 metres before the school, and a standard speed limit sign is required at the end of the zone. London would require around 480 signs, an estimated cost of $100,000. Solar powered flashing beacons could be added to the school zone signs for an additional cost of $1.2-million.
If implemented, the initiative would take around two years to be completed.
The motion heads to full council for consideration next week.