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Saanich to lower speed limits on 9 major routes

Saanich council has approved lowering speed limits to 40 km/h along nine major routes. (District of Saanich) Saanich council has approved lowering speed limits to 40 km/h along nine major routes. (District of Saanich)
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The District of Saanich is planning to lower the speed limits of nine major corridors in an effort to improve road safety.

On Monday night, Saanich council unanimously voted to lower speed limits to 40 km/h along Cordova Bay Road through to Arbutus Road, along Prospect Lake Road, a portion of Cedar Hill Cross Road, and along Gorge Road West and parts of Tillicum Road, among other areas.

The move comes after council asked staff to assess the nine corridors following high-profile crashes, including a crash in December 2021 that claimed the life of a 16-year-old boy who was walking in a crosswalk along Cedar Hill Cross Road.

"Cedar Hill Cross Road is a very unfortunate example where a young man was killed in a crosswalk a little over a year ago," said Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock while speaking to Victoria radio station CFAX 1070 on Tuesday.

"It was actually largely in response to that fatality which spurred the previous council into action," he said.

After that crash, the municipality planned to become a "vision zero" community, aiming to eliminate all injuries and fatalities caused by vehicle crashes.

Last year, Saanich council asked staff to research the "appropriate speed" for the nine routes that will soon have lowered speed limits.

"I think the operative word here, or term, is 'appropriate speed,'" said Murdock. "What staff have done is take a look at, given the travelling conditions, given the separation between people walking, people biking and people driving – would it be appropriate to have these roads at 50 km/h?"

"Or would it be safer if people were travelling at a slower speed?" he said.

Murdock says that reducing the speed limit to 40 km/h will give drivers more response time to stop for pedestrians, and people who are hit by cars will have a higher likelihood of survival.

Besides lowering speed limits, Saanich council is looking at other ways it can change road infrastructure to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, he says.

"Saanich is a community where we know that we have infrastructure that is not often conducive to getting around safely," said Murdock.

"In a lot of cases, there is not great infrastructure for people walking and people biking, and that puts people using our roads at risk," he said. "So we're making moves to improve road safety so that everyone can get around safely in our community."

An exact timeline for when the speed limits will be reduced has not yet been announced.

Murdock says new signage will go up in the spring, and the municipality will launch an information campaign to inform drivers of the new speed limits.

"We’ll be taking every opportunity to make sure that it's well communicated that those changes are coming," he said.

The exact areas where the speed limits will be changed will be detailed in the spring, during the information campaign, according to the mayor.

A map of the streets where speed limits are expected to be lowered to 40 km/h can be found below.

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