Street Speed Limit Study

Speed limits on all roadways within Manitoba have historically been universally defined (without room for local interpretation or adjustment) by the Highway Traffic Act, which lists Winnipeg as a restricted speed zone wherein the speed for residential areas is fixed at 50 km/h regardless of whether the default reflects the reasonable safe maximum speed. Even where road conditions, physical characteristics, traffic mix, or land use conditions indicate a lower speed limit would be more appropriate, the Public Service has not been able to recommend a reduced posted speed limit.

This limitation was removed in early 2019 with the enactment of the Traffic and Transportation Modernization Act (TTMA), which replaced various acts and regulations and significantly changed how traffic and transportation are regulated in Manitoba. Perhaps most notably, the TTMA shifted the responsibility for approving recommendations to change speed limits from the Highway Traffic Board to an authority delegated by individual municipalities. Winnipeg’s City Organization By-Law 7111/97 grants this authority to the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works.

In 2021 budget, funding was secured to hire a consultant to conduct a cross jurisdictional scan of speed limits; confirming potential speed limit scenarios (looking at the impacts of both 30 km/h and 40 km/h); reviewing the existing street classification system; and undertaking public engagement to involve the public in decision-making related to changing speeds on the streets.  SEE: Public Service Report and detailed report

The Winnipeg Public Service will be conducting a trial of 30 km/h speed limits on a limited number of existing neighbourhood greenways proposed in the report, and in addition, consult with Councillors to determine one street in each ward to conduct a trial of either 30km/h or 40km/h speed limits.  At this point, no streets have been selected in any ward, but I expect the consultant will be updating the Public Works committee late spring 2021. I am a huge proponent of changing the built environment to slow speeding , essentially changing the road structure so that vehicles slow down. Ie: Speed tables.  I fully expect this to also be a recommendation in the report.

It is important to note:

  • Most serious collisions occur on collector and regional streets. Not residential streets.
  • Many residents of Winnipeg are asking for slower speeds on residential streets to improve their quality of life.
  • Cities across Canada and all over the world are dropping speed limits on streets to save lives and improve the quality of life for their residents.

I am supportive of a slower speed on residential streets to improve quality of life, though I can’t fathom how this would be enforced. There seems to be a difficult time enforcing the many race cars going over 150 km/hr who are using Kenaston and Bishop Grandin as drag ways.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.