Lower limit to 20 km/h?

A Vancouver city councillor is seeking to lower the speed limit in residential neighbourhoods.

Coun. Pete Fry says he's receiving public support for the idea, and has asked city staff to prepare a report on the matter. A vote on his motion is expected today.

“All the major cities in Europe are doing this, New York is doing this, Seattle just phased in a bunch of 20 mph (32 km/h) zones," he told CTV News.

Fry wants to lower the speed limit from 50 to 30 km/h for local streets, suggesting a pilot project in areas such as the West End, Commercial Drive, Hastings-Sunrise or Strathcona.

“For pedestrians or cyclists hit by a car at 20 km/h, your chances of a major life-changing injury or death are about 10 per cent. That increases to about 40 per cent if you’re hit by a car at the default speed limit,” said Fry.

He says traffic congestion leads drivers to cut through side-streets.

“Commuters get frustrated, they start looking for short-cuts through the neighbourhood, and those are the people we see getting angry and driving at 50 km/h, which in a residential street context seems very fast, even though it is the speed limit.”

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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