Make a bold move, Chelsea and reduce speeds
At the last Active Transportation committee meeting question period, the Hendrick Farm Home Owners Association board of directors made a compelling plea to reduce speed limits to 30 km/h and implement “shared street” throughout the neighbourhood (which would further reduce the speed to 20km/h). The municipality replied with the very compelling argument of “they would if only they had the power to do so.”
Lower speed limits in residential areas (i.e., 30km/h or lower) is becoming the norm. Both the province of Quebec, and the municipality of Chelsea have guidelines on when you can apply reduced speed limits in residential neighbourhoods. Other municipalities (both within Quebec and across Canada) have made their own policies to make it easier for their residents to apply for reduced speed limits, implement “shared streets,” or add additional barriers or signage.
And yet, here in Chelsea, we are left handcuffed to high speeds. The municipality has made many arguments against lowering speed limits, such as “road rage,” “lack of evidence,” “complicated procedures,” “too expensive,” and “they would if they could but they can’t-in-the-near-future-but-maybe-next-year”.
Perhaps I am naive to think that changing a sign cannot (or should not) be so complicated that it takes years, injuries, or deaths for it to happen. But, wouldn’t it be great if residents were given some power as to how they want to shape their community? That pedestrians (including elderly, wobbling toddlers, pre-schoolers on bikes, and teenagers with AirPods) were not at risk of injury (or worse) during their after-dinner walk.
So I ask the municipality to “be bold” and apply 30km/h in all residential neighbourhoods, and make it easy (i.e., not requiring multiple degrees, hours of advocacy, and countless emails) to apply a “shared street” design.