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Calgary’s New Speed Limit

Calgary traffic sign saying reduced speed ahead

Take It To The Limit: Information On Calgary’s New Speed Limit

As you have likely heard, the default speed limits within Calgary will soon be changing. Specifically, the speed limit for residential and some collector roads will be reduced from 50 km/h to 40 km/h as of May 31, 2021.[1]

While most Calgarians have no qualms about adjusting their driving habits to accommodate this new bylaw, some questions remain.

In this blog post, we answer some of the most common questions we have heard (so far) regarding the upcoming Calgary speed limit changes.

Which Calgary roads are changing?

Residential roads and some collector roads will have their default speed limits changed – but not all!

Basically, most residential roads will have their speed limits reduced as of May 31, 2021 but only some collector roads will have reduced limits.

In order to avoid further confusion, a better way of looking at this upcoming change may be to consider this impending Calgary speed limit change as just a general reduction in the default speed limit within Calgary city limits.

In other words: When in doubt, do 40 km/h.

That said, the City of Calgary is spending $2.3 million on new speed limit road signs. These signs will be placed on all roads where the speed limit is different from the new default 40 km/h.

This means that if there is no a speed limit sign alongside the road upon which you are driving, then the speed limit on that road will be 40 km/h as of May 31, 2021.

It’s important to note that the speed limit of playground zones (30 km/hr) and roads that are not classified as “residential” or “collector” will not change. For example, Deerfoot Trail will remain 100km/h and Crowchild Trail will still be set at 80 km/h.

What exactly are “collector” vs. “residential” roads?

Collector roads in Calgary are, according to the calgary.ca/transportation website, roads that “have residences, schools, businesses, green spaces, typically have a center line, and are often bus and snow routes.”[2]

Residential roads in Calgary are defined as “roads in front of most houses, [that] typically have no center line, and have less traffic.”

Why is this happening?

Calgary City Council has identified two major reasons behind this decision:

  1. To bring down the approximate monetary cost to society of traffic collisions within Calgary each year (which they assert is currently in the range of $1.2 billion), and;
  2. To reduce the pedestrian and bicycle casualty collision rate within the city.

The upcoming default speed limit reduction is one part of a greater traffic safety strategy included in Calgary’s “Safer Mobility Plan 2019-2023”. This part is entitled “Vision Zero” and the vision guiding it is “mobility[,] free of major injuries and fatalities.”[3]

How does this compare with other cities?

Calgary is not the first major Canadian city to reduce their residential and collector road speed limits. In fact, reducing speed limits on these types of roads is gaining momentum across the country.

The City of Toronto implemented a tiered speed limit policy on streets and roads throughout the city. The limit is now 20 km/h in & around public parks (such as Exhibition Place), and 40 km/h is the default on all local streets (when there is no signage stating otherwise).[4]

Edmonton is also reducing their default speed limits this summer in much the same way as we are here in Calgary.[5]

The beautiful city of Victoria, BC is taking its speed reduction plans a step further. Victoria City Council has just approved a recommendation to submit its application to participate in a provincial pilot program to reduce the speed limit on Victoria streets where there is no continuous centre line to 30 km/h.[6]

Other Canadian cities that have similar reduced speed limits include:

– St. Albert

– London, Ont

– Hamilton

– Windsor City Council is debating it… again[7]

– Guelph*

* If you are having a difficult time coming to grips with Calgary’s impending speed limit changes, then perhaps be thankful you’re not driving on the roads of Guelph, Ontario.

Guelph’s speed limit is 30 km/h all local roads and collector roads with traffic of <3,000 vehicles per day. However, on arterial roads and collector roads with >3,000 vehicles per day, the speed limit is 40 km/h – but only on school days between 8-9 a.m. and 3-4 p.m.[8]

Compared to Guelph’s (complicated) tiered speed limit system, Calgary’s new default speed limit is a lot more digestible!


If you find yourself with Calgary traffic ticket – whether it’s due to this new, reduced speed limit or not – then we encourage you to give us a call. We can help you with Alberta traffic tickets, Calgary traffic tickets, and even photo-radar tickets.

 

[1] https://www.calgary.ca/transportation/roads/traffic/traffic-safety-programs/residential-speed-limits.html

[2] ibid

[3] https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=73456

[4] https://www.toronto.ca/311/knowledgebase/kb/docs/articles/transportation-services/district-transportation-services/traffic-operations/minimum-speed-limit-on-streets.html

[5] https://www.edmonton.ca/transportation/traffic_safety/residential-speed-limits.aspx

[6] https://www.vicnews.com/news/victoria-council-gives-green-light-to-30-km-h-speed-limit-pilot-project/#:~:text=Currently%2C%20the%20default%20speed%20limit,for%20reduced%20default%20speed%20limits

[7] https://www.iheartradio.ca/am800/news/windsor-city-council-to-debate-40-km-h-residential-speed-limit-1.15021916

[8] https://guelph.ca/living/getting-around/drive/school-zones/#:~:text=30%20km%2Fh%20speed%20limits,than%203%2C000%20vehicles%20per%20day

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