Toronto's chief medical officer published a $45,000 report that calls for the municipal government to lower speed limits within the city by as much as 20 km/h in order to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
Should motorists in Toronto drive faster or slower? That is the debate that is occurring right now in the city and province. Last week, Digital Journal reported of an Oshawa-based group called Stop100.ca that called upon the Ministry of Ontario to increase the speed limit by as much 30 km/h on the province’s 400-series highways.
A report titled “Road to Health: Improving Walking and Cycling in Toronto” is now recommending that speed limits in Toronto be reduced by as much as 20 km/h. The purpose of the $45,000 report is to look at ways to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
Among the speed limit reductions would be to reduce the speed limit on Lakeshore Boulevard to 40 km/h and on most residential streets traffic would be lowered to 30 km/h. Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s chief medical officer, noted that there is evidence to suggest that both cyclists and pedestrians are far less likely to be killed for every 10 km/h reduction below 60 km/h.
“By improving safety for pedestrian and cyclists in Toronto the direct costs associated with vehicle collisions with pedestrians and cyclists could be reduced by over $62 million,” the report stated. “In terms of indirect costs, if estimates of lost productivity or the economic value of a life are included, the total economic benefits of active transportation in Toronto range from $130 million to $478 million.”
The report will be discussed at next month’s city council meeting scheduled for May 8 and May 9.
Last week, the United States National Motorists Association endorsed Stop100.ca. The group noted in its letter that fatality rates have fallen since speed limit controls were given back to the states and when they were raised to 112 km/h or more.