Could lower speed limits be in District of North Vancouver's future?

Jan 26 2017, 10:33 pm

A community forum is taking place in North Vancouver Thursday evening with the goal of finding ways to make residential streets safer for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Presented by the North Shore Safety Council, the forum, which begins at 6:30 pm, is called Slow Down North Shore and is the first public gathering focused on the speed of vehicles on residential streets, said NSSC’s Tom Walker.

In preparation for the meeting, the NSSC “has taken pains to not pre-judge or prefer any single solution,” Walker told Daily Hive.

Lower speed limits aren’t the be-all, end-all goal of the forum, however.

Any future traffic changes would “have to include planning and engineering, as well as education and awareness, to change a culture that makes us speed in the first place,” Walker said. “This is why we want to frame it [Thursday’s gathering] as a conversation among neighbours.”

Walker said he and the group understand that people are in a hurry and are frustrated by congestion on Highway 1 and slow-moving bottlenecks.

But when drivers “hurtle” off the highway at the exits and on to residential streets, “they become neighbours” instead of commuters.

And it’s these people – friends, parents, and others – who the NSSC is encouraging to slow down.

“Motor vehicle speed one of the biggest factors in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists,” the group says on Facebook. “It’s also one of the reasons that people are afraid to walk and ride their bikes. The result? More parents driving their kids to school, needlessly increased traffic congestion, increased accident and injury risk for everyone, and poorer overall public health.”

Walker said the plan for Thursday’s forum has, in general, been positively received.

“The reaction from many so far has been, ‘it’s about time we had this conversation,'” he said.

Walker did admit though, that some people have mis-read the group’s promotional material and “assume we have an agenda.”

Walker reiterated this is not the case, and that it’s not a “a specific, targeted campaign” of the North Shore Safety Council for reduced traffic speed limits.

“We think that speed limit reduction on some roadways makes sense,” he said. “This is why we framed it a ‘neighbourhood speed reduction forum.”