EDMONTON -- A lowering of Edmonton's residential speed limits could cost between $1.4 million and $2.5 million, depending on how the city decides to go about it.

The price estimates were delivered by city administration on Thursday via a report examining two potential scenarios: where speed limits for residential and collector roads throughout Edmonton are lowered from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, and where speed limits in Edmonton's core are lowered to 30km/h.

City administration was asked to study the frequency of crashes, area land use, traffic volume, and other speed reductions (like playground zones) to decide which roads should be exempt from lower speed limits.

The goals, traffic safety department head Jessica Lamarre said, are to create a system that's consistent for drivers and safe for everyone on Edmonton streets.

"Safety takes priority over convenience," Lamarre said. "We want to equitably create safe spaces for everyone in Edmonton."



This option would affect just 34 of Edmonton's neighbourhoods between 142 Street and 75 Street, and 111 Avenue and 63 Avenue.

About 1,300 signs would be posted at entrances to residential neighbourhoods, most downtown intersections and playground points.

The strategy could reduce fatal collisions on residential roads by six per cent, the data suggested.


Potential collision reductions on residential roads


6 per cent

Major and minor injury

2 per cent

Property damage only

<1 per cent

Making changes in the core zone would not require a new charter bylaw, Lamarre noted, as the city could amend its current speed zones bylaw.

In total, changing speed limits in the core zone only would take about $1.4 million and six months from bylaw approval to implement.



The second scenario would affect all of Edmonton's 400 neighbourhoods. The city would put up an estimated 5,500 signs where speed limits differ from the new default limit: arterial intersections, industrial commercial roads and playground zone points.

"While the total number of signs required is higher for a city-wide approach, the default speed limit requires us to post signs less frequently. This would result in less signage clutter on our streets," Lamarre said.

The report found the change could see the number of fatal collisions reduced by 20 per cent.  


Potential collision reductions on residential roads


20 per cent

Major and minor injury

10 per cent

Property damage only

7 per cent

However, a city-wide change would require a new charger bylaw with council approval and a notification period before taking effect. Given this, Lamarre said the change could be made within one year of bylaw approval at a price tag of $2.5 million.



While researching the two options, city staff found lowering speed limits on residential roads would not significantly impact travel time for most commuters.

"The Estimated Time of Arrival tool has really helped us understand what the impacts of each of these approaches might be on people's travel times. We really haven't seen many cases where there's more than a two-minute difference," Lamarre said.

"For me, two minutes is brushing my teeth. That's a pretty easy adjustment to make."

As such, city staff are also not anticipating Edmontonians to avoid routes with lower speeds and cause traffic flow issues in other areas.

"The number of roads that would see a reduction aren't roads that we travel for extensive amounts of time in the day," Lamarre said. "We're almost always moving towards those larger collectors and arterial roads to commute around the city."

Researchers also said traffic, on average, flows below the posted speed limit on any road. According to the report, this could support a 40 km/h or 30 km/h speed limit in pedestrian-heavy areas like downtown, Jasper Avenue and Whyte Avenue.

The data released Thursday will be discussed by the Community and Public Services Committee on Feb. 26.  

With a report from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson