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Councillor driven to pitch 40km/h speed limit on Collingwood roads

'The streets are going to be safer and more livable for our residents if the speed limit is lower than 50 km/h,' said Councillor Yvonne Hamlin
Councillor Yvonne Hamlin. Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

A Collingwood councillor would like to implement a reduced speed limit for all the roads in the municipality. 

Councillor Yvonne Hamlin is bringing forward a motion for coucil's consideration on Monday to set the maximum speed for all roads in the municipality to a maximum of 40 km/h. 

“This isn’t to restrict local residents from getting to the grocery store,” Hamlin told “This is to make our streets safe for everyone.” 

Her motion is part of the May 31 council agenda, and if passed, would be one of many steps the town would have to take to lower all the 50km/h zones to 40 km/h. 

Hamlin would like to see it done by ski season, but she’s not sure that’s possible. 

“I hope everyone gets on board,” she said. 

Her motion is in response to an earlier presentation on a proposed traffic calming policy made to a council committee this month. 

Michael Cullip of Tatham Engineering and John Velick, the town’s manager of engineering services presented the traffic calming study and a list of options to council’s development and operations standing committee on May 10. 

As part of the presentation, Cullip cited a study by Eric Rosén and Ulrich Sander (both in Sweden) on pedestrian fatality risk as a function of car impact speed, which indicates the fatality risk for a pedestrian when a car is travelling at 50 km/h is more than twice as high as the risk at 40 km/h and more than five times higher than the risk at 30 km/h. 

In the presentation, Cullip said a pedestrian hit by a vehicle travelling at 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) has an 89 per cent chance of survival, compared to a 68 per cent chance if a car is travelling at 35 miles per hour (56 km/h). 

The Globe and Mail quoted the president and CEO of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, Robin Robertson, saying a car travelling 20 km/h over the speed limit is six times more likely to get in a crash, and that a one km/h increase in vehicle speed results in a three per cent increase in the risk of a crash that could cause injury. 

Those statistics set the wheels in motion for Hamlin’s decision to pitch a town-wide speed reduction. 

“The streets are going to be safer and more livable for our residents if the speed limit is lower than 50 km/h,” said Hamlin. “What was driving me is the idea that roads aren’t just for cars.” 

She points to use of local roads by kids, youth, adults, seniors, cyclists, runners and others as an indicator that the streets should accommodate more than just vehicular traffic. 

“I just think we need to think about everyone that is on the road and lowering the speed limits will make it safer for everyone,” she said. 

Hamlin pointed to the examples of Edmonton, Calgary, and Orangeville, as each of those cities are (or have) reducing the max speeds on most residential roads to 40 km/h. Orangeville made the change as of March 1, 2021. 

“Our roads are used by residents and local businesses, but we also have more of an unusual situation where our roads are used by people who are travelling from one side of our community to another and using it as a thoroughfare,” said Hamlin. “And we have a lot of visitors.” 

The councillor wants to see every road within Collingwood’s town boundaries with a 50 km/h maximum reduced to a maximum of 40 km/h. Though she understands the argument for leaving some main roads at 50 km/h, she said she’d rather have consistency town-wide. 

She said one reason for a consistent max speed is to make it easier on visitors, and the other is to make it easier on enforcement officers charged with enforcing posted speed limits. 

Council will vote on the matter during the May 31 meeting.

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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