Toronto has long flirted with the prospect of reducing the speed limits on its residential streets to 30 kilometres per hour. Lately, Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow has championed the old idea with new vigour. “I have spoken to countless parents who want to see the city do everything it can to protect kids, along with all pedestrians,” he told the Toronto Star earlier this month as council considered new policies that would make it easier for residential streets to adopt lower speed limits. According to data from the World Health Organization, a pedestrian has a 90 per cent survival rate if hit by a car travelling at 30 kilometres per hour, while the rate at 45 kilometres per hour is less than 50 per cent.
WOULD IT WORK?
New York City, San Francisco and London, England, are among the cities worldwide that have already reduced limits to comparable speeds. When Toronto’s public works committee met to discuss the idea, however, it couldn’t agree on whether it wanted to follow suit; the new proposals, which would let an individual street adopt a 30-kilometre-per-hour limit if it met certain criteria, seemed like they might create a grid in which speed limits would fluctuate from block to block.