THE City of Surrey on Thursday launched the Surrey Slow Streets: Residential Speed Limit Reduction Pilot.
Surrey Slow Streets is an important first step in understanding how reduced speed limits impact neighbourhood liveability, driver behaviour and safety on Surrey roads.
“We know that high speeds pose a serious danger to the driver, cyclists and pedestrians, which is why Council approved the Surrey Slow Streets pilot project,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “Starting today, speed limits in six neighbourhoods will be reduced to 30 km per hour or 40 km per hour. During the one-year pilot, vehicle speeds, crashes and perception of safety among residents will be monitored. If the research shows an improvement, consideration will be given to expand the Slow Streets Program to other residential neighbourhoods in Surrey.”
Effective June 17, three zones will have 30 km per hour posted speed limits, and three will have 40 km per hour posted speed limits. Signage will indicate the new speed limits as per the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act legislation.
“As travel speeds increase, the risk of death and injury increase significantly, if you’re involved in a crash,” said Shabnem Afzal, Road Safety Manager. “The faster we drive, the less time we have to react to the unexpected, which can have serious negative consequences to safety on our streets. Surrey Slow Streets reduces speed limits so we can save lives and increase the safety and wellbeing of our residents.”
Lower speed limits have many benefits, such as, preventing crashes and reducing the severity of crashes that do occur, reduced vehicle noise, lower greenhouse gas emissions and increased feelings of safety for residents so they can feel comfortable walking and cycling in their neighbourhood.
“We look forward to this pilot project in the City of Surrey to build healthy, active, and safe communities,” said Dr. Emily Newhouse, Fraser Health Medical Health Officer. “Vehicle speed is consistently one of the top factors deterring people from being more active close to home. Reducing speeds can help reduce the risk of serious and preventable injuries, while also improving longer-term health by providing residents with safe opportunities to be physically active.”
Surrey Slow Streets uses a data-driven, evidence led and equity centred approach to speed limit reduction. Research shows that certain subpopulations are at higher risk of being injured and killed in a crash. As such, neighbourhoods were selected based on demographics, speeding issues, safety issues, community amenities and equity, ensuring the needs of Surrey’s diverse communities were incorporated into the pilot project design.
Upon entry into a pilot neighbourhood, drivers will also see a Slow Streets Neighbourhood sign. It will serve as a reminder for drivers that they have entered a pilot neighbourhood. Children from the Surrey community designed each of the neighbourhood signs, as a part of Surrey’s “Design the Sign Contest.”
Surrey Slow Streets is an initiative of the City’s Vision Zero Surrey Safe Mobility Plan that aims to have zero people killed and seriously injured on Surrey roads.
The pilot is focused on residential areas and information about zone locations can be found at www.surrey.ca/slow-streets.