Imposing a 30 km/h Speed Limit in Residential Areas

30 km/h speed signCurrently the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act sets a speed limit of 50 km/h on municipal streets when a different speed limit has not been posted by signs. A recent survey by Research Co. found that 58% of British Columbians would definitely or probably like to see residential speed limits of 30 km/h. This past fall the Union of B.C. Municipalities resolved to ask the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to allow municipalities to set this blanket speed limit.

Municipalities already have the power to implement 30 km/h speed zones anywhere within their boundaries through the use of signs. The amendment would save the effort and expense of installing more signs.

There are five justifications to make the change in this resolution:

The provincial government surveyed municipalities in 2015 as part of the Road Safety Strategy. Not surprisingly, the top two issues of concern reported were vehicle speeds and pedestrian safety.

What should be surprising is that the survey also found that formal municipal road safety program components are rare. Less than one third have a formal mandate to improve road safety and few have developed visions, plans or targets.

Less than half of municipalities have committees with a road safety mandate or road safety improvement programs or projects.

Of 9 potential sources of road safety data suggested, most municipalities relied on public comments and complaints instead of something like a Sustainable Transportation Assessment for Neighbourhoods.

Residents usually request traffic calming changes on their streets to remedy safety issues. Municipalities such as Maple Ridge, North Cowichan and West Kelowna do have policies in place for this. They follow the Canadian Guide to Neighbourhood Traffic Calming produced by the Transportation Association of Canada. It's expensive to buy and is not available to read for free on line or in my local library so we can to refer to chapter 2 of the B.C. Community Road Safety Toolkit instead.

What do you think our provincial government's response to this request will be?



Drive to Conditions

Wouldn’t it be safer driving if we would drive to the conditions of the road? Those conditions being people cars animals, debris left on the road from storms. Just because the signs is 30 km/hr the conditions may not merit the posted speed. Is that sign not a suggested speed?

If the sign is black and white ...

... then it is the maximum speed limit. It's a regulation.

Black on yellow signs are suggested maximums. These are warning signs, not rules.

But absolutely, drivers are required to consider the conditions, including the road width. Oftentimes a lower speed (that will allow the driver to stop within the range of his vision) simply makes more sense, and most drivers realize this - believe it or don't.

The people who think there's no problem with creating a 30 km/h zone throughout a municipality don't seem to realize that it makes all those carefully considered school and playground 30 km/h zones irrelevant, they'll have to switch a lot of the signage. After all, you can't require drivers to slow to 30 km/h if that's already the limit in effect 24/7, can you? But that's just what you've done as an enforcing authority when you create a blanket municipal speed limit of 30 km/h, so the school and playground limit regulatory signs should be replaced with mere warning signs about potential kids in the area.

People need to think through this stuff, I believe. Maybe what they're already doing is on the right track, regarding speed limits. And that includes quite a few residential areas in the City of Vancouver, that are nowhere near schools or playgrounds. It's an awful lot of signs, but reflects the conditions in each neighbourhood.

Marpole Avenue, Vancouver

Marpole with cars parked on both sides of the road and often too close to the intersection. Yes, 30 or even 25 km on some streets,

Yes, Definitely

I noticed that along Granville at Marpole, between W63 and W70 , there are many traffic stop lights and shops and the traffic still does at least 50 km/h as there are no other limits posted along this stretch.

This stretch has seen many crashes due to speed. A mandatory 30 kmph should be imposed AND policed along this stretch.

You cannot be serious.

I noticed that along Granville at Marpole, between W63 and W70 , there are many traffic stop lights and shops and the traffic still does at least 50 km/h as there are no other limits posted along this stretch.

Pardon me if I seem sarcastic (you're anonymous so it's nothing personal) but let's consider some real facts.

  • Granville is a major north/south arterial street, being part of the Hwy 99 corridor between Whistler and the US. It's also a vital connection to YVR, Richmond, SW Marine, & W. 70th Avenue.
  • This thread is supposed to be about mandating blanket 30 km/h coverage of residential streets, nothing to do with arterials which must move traffic. Why do you (and others in this thread) not get that? So your expectation of the authorities putting up new road signs that reduce the limit by 40% all of a sudden - and monitoring it with police - is absurd.
  • Marpole area is no different than Fairview area (W. 6th to W.16th, approximately) in terms of the number of traffic lights and potential conflicts between various road users. Lotsa shops there, too. And lotsa pedestrian controlled lights so they can cross safely.
  • The ICBC crash map does show more than 500 collisions per year at Granville & W. 70th, but the cause of this is typically running amber or red lights, failing to signal, cutting in, following too close, and disrespecting others' right of way; speed is not the issue here. Frankly, averaging more than 50 km/h through that section is usually impossible during daylight hours due to traffic volumes.
  • If you drive south on the Granville Street Bridge, as you approach W. 6th, you'll see a black & white sign advising that the 60 km/h limit has ended. There will be no more speed limit signs after that on Granville, because 50 km/h is the default speed in effect in all BC municipalities so Vancouver rarely posts that limit (and only posts 30 km/h where it's appropriate - such as some residential streets, or business areas such as Granville Island below the bridge).

It Would Take Getting Used to

When residents Park on either side, other cars, and children on the street, perhaps 30K is to high. Yes I would agree with 30.

In Campbell River, where school zone speeds are painted on the road, and the speed limit is in effect, 24/7‎, 365 days a year.  People ignore the speed limit. If 30 was in effect on side streets, perhaps drivers would get used to it and heed it.

My Soapbox

You know what’s interesting is that there was an article this week in the local Peninsula News Review talking about this very subject. I was actually starting to get a little upset about it. I grew up in a very rural neighborhood where the speeds were 50KM/Hr and I was riding my bike along these vehicles, buses, Cement trucks, etc. Kids used to ride their skateboards along these roads? Were there incidents? Sure. Were there more then than are now? NO!

They’ve already dropped the speeds on the same streets that were 50 down to 40 and now they are talking about 30! Honestly, I think it’s just a cash grab for municipalities so they can nail you with a higher fine if your speeding more than 20 over. There is nothing different with these roads!

They are the same roads that I grew up with, more people on them. I honestly think they need to leave the speeds alone on rural streets!!!

The ONLY place that could really use some improvement is school zones, that’s where cars need to slow down. That’s where speed humps need to be installed THAT’s where the police should be all day long. I see people driving through school zones way above the 30km and it infuriates me. As a father with 4 kids this gets me really upset. Can you tell???

Ok off my Soapbox now.

Nanny State!

More nanny statism. Unbelievable. Instead of public education, the answer is always more restrictive legislation. It's all so tiring. Traffic would become a complete and total nightmare on highways that travel through cities, such as in the okanagan, or make criminals out of every single driver. I cant believe this vision zero goal is being taken seriously.

educate the public?

hahaha.... now that's funny.   if the 'public' could be educated, we wouldn't need restrictions.   and the problem isn't the 'public' at large - most peeple get it.   it's few that think the rules shouldn't apply to them.   those are the ones that make restrictions necessary. but if you have the secret to get everyone to be 'educated', please share it.

40 km/hr more likely to work than 30 km/hr

Yes a lower speed limit on streets other than arterials should reduce accident severity. Now many drivers currently slow down to 30 km/hr or so in school zones because that's where police enforcement is focussed. Buit if 30 km/hr limits are extended to all streets other than arterials, it is daydreaming to think we would get the huge increase in policing required to enforce a 30 km/hr limit everywhere it applied. In the absence of enforcement, a 40km/hr limit would be perceived by more people as reasonable than a 30 km/hr limit, and would therefore be much more likely to be observed.  On city blocks with parking on both sides and only enough room for one vehicle to go through at a time, the typical speed is already down to 40 km/hr. Before putting in blanket 30 km/hr restrictions, BC and its municipalities need to do some reseach to find out how the 40 km/hr limit works in other areas, e.g on some Toronto streets, compared with 30 km/hr. If we must have a blanket limit that's less than 50 km/hr, let's have trail periods for 40 first and then 30 to seee if a reduction from 40 to 30 actually makes a significant difference in behaviour.

Driving Stupid

With the new laws coming into effect feb 1/20, to impose other driver restrictions would be a sign of trying to remove the majority of vehicles from the roads.           

I have to wonder who dreams up this stuff. Under the new rules, if I am travelling with my wife from Dawson Creek bc to Edmonton ab, we can't eat or drink, listen to music, talk on the phone, sing to ourselves, or even talk to each other. Now you think that we should slow to 30 when going through towns. That isn't driving smart. That is driving stupid.

I for one would be asleep and in a smash long before I reached my destination.          

I understand your logic. If people decide to not bother driving, one less car on the road. If they drive, you will beat them into submission by fining them until their car is also off the road. That's just another NDP or Trudeau jackass plan to save the environment. Soon we will be better off living in a communist country.

Victim of Social Media

Are you referring to changes in distracted driving rules referenced on social media lately?

If this proposal was to be acted on, you would have to drive at 30 km/h in residential areas of municipalities, if the municipality decided to implement the speed zone. It would not apply to arterial highways as you suggest.

58% of people would

Supervise a pendulum to ensure it stays on course. Doesn't mean that its necessary or virtuous, or changes anything in any way. But once the society believes that the pendulum moves solely because it is being supervised, someone will get paid tax money to supervise it.

30 Km/hr Speed Limit in Residential areas

This is something I have been waiting for since my first complaints to the City of Kelowna in 2007. A speed of 30km/hr is a nice safe speed for traffic anywhere where residents enter/exit driveways or where traffic calming measures were needed. As it is, I have vehicles travelling 30-50 kms/hr over the speed limit on my street, and any vehicle that loses control at 80-100kms/hr will surely do some damage, and always a risk of death to an unsuspecting resident. This amendment is absolutely necessary to ensure safety in the crazy world we live in, where new vehicles can reach highway speeds in just a few seconds, and many drivers do so, just because they can.

It’s everywhere

Aggressive speed mongers who's sense of entitlement is beyond the rules - they don't apply to them.

This very same stuff happens on my residential street daily and multiple times, some of the violators are from the neighbourhood and the remaining are the bad parent-drivers who are in route to the school that is a ½ mile away.  It's very bad some days.

I have often thought to sit at the curb with a bucket of rocks to wing at the speed mongers as they go by, wouldn't take them long to slow down, turn around and confront me, amazingly, while they were speeding to where ever they were going because they were 'late' to begin with.   The other item I would like to possess is a spike belt.  I'd love to sit in the dark and 'wait' for that annoying kid in his oversized noisy pickup with an N sign on the tailgate, throw that baby across the road and when he's passed roll it up and disappear.  What karma that would bring.

My point, in all this lowering of speed in residential areas is a wonderful concept except any and all laws/rules of the road are only as good as the enforcement.  There really is nothing wrong with 50kmh, its the enforcement of that speed that is neglected.  The speed mongers will continue to violate the lower limits just as they blatantly do with the current ones.  The only ones who will abide by the limit are the same ones who already do.  If enforcement and severe penalty is not a consequence then there is little advantage to lowering the speed.

30 Km/hr Speed Limit in Residential areas

You are correct, offenders of this nature do not follow rules and laws, but with enforcement in problem areas, these offenders are now heading for the impound lot, and ICBC should also make new penalties for anyone with their vehicle impounded in residential. Enforcement is the main concern, the lack of it over that last 2 decades has allowed society to become this way, and I believe it's another attempt to follow through with a plan to drive all law abiding normal people crazy, much like the honk when you lock twice "epidemic thats taking place right now with brainwashed idiots hitting the lock button twice on their key Fobs, instead of using the lock button once, on the door panel when they exit their vehicle. I would like to take away all the people's key Fobs who do this, and let them learn they can use the door panel on console switch to lock their doors without horn honking. And, who in their right mind would create a system where the horn, of all things would honk, when you lock the doors? Think about that, and let that sink in for a bit. And most auto manufaturers are doing that, and get this, Transport Canada, a Government entity has allowed this stupidity to go on for well over a decade, so if you don't think this is an attempt to drive people crazy, your not paying attention.

You are Sooooo Right!

Hurray!  I finally found an ally who also HATES that horn honking lunatic!  The ones who have a stutter problem..... they hit the FOB 3-4x while walking away.    Urggggg.   I always use my door lock and my FOB "notification" has been turned off since the purchase of the vehicle.  I often wonder if some of these horn-honking fanatics even understand they can turn that honking off!   I am more inclined to believe that they wish to be 'noticed' or 'visable' to all others in an effort to be centre of attention.

And yeah, I'm convinced us law-abiding, common-sense, "normal" people are being driven out and the wing-nuts remain manning the fort.  Scary thought.

Honk when locked or double honk when remote starting

I wrote a letter to the Minister of Transportation in 2009 in regards to the insanity behind using a horn to notify everyone when you are locking your vehicle doors or remote starting. The Minister of Transportation is the one responsible for approving such insanity, and failed to respond to my complaint.

There is absolutely no rationale into programming any motor vehicle to honk the horn at any time, a horn was created for a different purpose and in my honest opinion whoever approved this needs to be behind bars for life. 

I called for an immediate end to this insanity, and notices sent out to every manufacturer and vehicle owner(at insurance renewal time) to deprogram this nonsense before continuous neighborhood disputes end up in a death, but no one responded!

I even wrote letters to various newspapers across Canada to raise awareness, but all to no avail. Maybe I should have labeled it "Drag Queens" must stop honking, and then I would have gotten some response from the attention.

It can be useful, you know!

If you're ever in some place like Metrotown and can't figure out where the heck you parked your car, then it's surprising how much range there can be in your keyfob - just press it a couple of times, and voila, there's your car.

Meanwhile, I think that with most cars these days, one press of the button will lock the car so they don't make a noise unless it's pushed twice, for those who wish for audible as well as visible confirmation.

Scary thought.

Talking about scary thoughts, I am just hoping that people complaining about "brain-washed idiots", "fanatics", or "wing-nuts", or who "HATE" lunatics, or who are "law-abiding normal people being driven crazy" ...  are able to set their angry feelings completely aside when driving. When I was younger I tended to let such stuff get to me, and I know I was a worse driver when I did. Driving while under the influence of an emotional state is a significant cause of accidents


The provincial government announced that it is not willing to do this for the municipalities. Either put up signs or don't bother.

Encouraging news, and appropriate.

Clearly, this is a Municipal issue, to be dealt with at a local level. In recent years, municipalities have also been granted permission to extend (but not reduce) the hour of operation applying to their School Zones.

For the province to suddenly and arbitrarily slash the residential speed limit by 40% would be inappropriate and unacceptable. 

Requesting Speed Limit Change

How can I get my residential neighbourhood speed limit reduced to 30 km/hr? It's in the sunshine coast regional district, and limit is currently 50 km/hr. What are the steps to make a request, and who does the request go to (MOTI or the SCRD)? What's the process to get approval?


If this is a residential neighbourhood and not the main road through town, I would start with the SCRD. If I am wrong, they will simply point you to the MOTI. Hopefully they will not both do the same thing.

I don't think that there is a set process for this, just somehow you must convince the agency responsible to put up 30 signs.

You may be able to contact the City of Rossland for some advice as they have changed all of their residential neighbourhoods to 30 km/h.

You will see in the comments that there are many people who disagree with slowing down.

Thank You

SCRD wasn't totally sure, but thought it would be MOTI, so I'll see what they say...

I will definitely keep you posted, with a big increase in folks moving to the sunshine coast, residential neighborhoods are seeing a lot more vehicles, many who are rushing to the ferry and going well over even the 50 km speed limit. I'm sure I'll get push back from commuters.

More Thoughts

That's not a good thing when the SCRD is not sure, but at least they are honest!

If that's the case, then it would be the MOTI and it would likely be very helpful to have the folks at the SCRD on board asking with you.

I've not been part of having this type of thing done and quite frankly those efforts that I have taken part in have hit a brick wall when the initiators caved in and failed to persist. However, I would talk it up in the neighbourhood to see who agrees with you. Have all of them sign a petition and take it to the SCRD asking for support. If the SCRD does not want to support the initiative, listen to why and see if you can deal with their concerns. Then move on to the MOTI, perhaps with the assistance of your MLA.

You could even enlist your neighbours and do traffic counts to show how many drivers would be affected by the change.

This article would give you an idea how to measure current speeds in your neighbourhood and contrast that as well:

The more well thought out ammunition you have when you finally face the decision making authority the more likely you are to succeed.

The Wisdom of Twitter

I read something tonight that really resonated with me:

A) People driving through a neighbourhood should not have priority over those who live in it

B) Start by protecting the most vulnerable members of the community then work your way to the least and the entire community will benefit. (I call it “trickle up livability”)

what about rural roads?

i live in the Cariboo, and the road to my house runs along a lake - it's very windy, gravel, narrow and has trees obscuring everything.   recently the property at the end of the lake has started doing construction and all their workers race down this road like they are on fire.    there are people riding horses, lots of wildlife heading to the lake to drink, bike riders, ATVs (even though they're not supposed to) and people just walking or collecting berries or mushroom.   one day someone will come around a corner and there will be someone there.  on a gravel road, you just won't be able to stop.    so the question is, what is the speed limit on a rural gravel road?

Rural Road Speeds

80 km/h unless otherwise posted.

Lower Mainland

I live in the Lower Mainland, and most of the residential areas are not marked with speed limit signs, but this is well undersood by the public in my area.

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