News / Calgary

Alberta's big city charters could help slow down drivers

Changing speed limits currently difficult for cities

Metro File

The long-awaited city charters could let big cities make roads safer by giving them more control over local speed limits.

Gerry Shimko, executive director of Edmonton’s office of traffic safety, said the two big cities in Alberta are looking at the possibility.

“We’re working with the City of Calgary on what would it look like if we reduced speeds in residential area to 40 km/h,” he said.

He said currently, the default on any unmarked road province wide is 50 km/h. That includes residential neighborhoods. If negotiated with the province, the cities could have new jurisdiction over speed limits.

Shimko said giving the cities that power could be a huge cost savings. Right now there’s nothing stopping cities from making residential streets 40 or 30 km/h zones, but they have to post signs saying as much,

Coun. Shane Keating, Chair of the city’s transportation and transit committee, said he has no idea if control will be ceded to the big cities in the charter, but he thinks it’s a good idea.

“I can’t see it being something that could not be within the charter. That in many ways is what the charters are all about – giving the larger municipalities the authority to make these changes.”

He said while many people are hung up on the idea of taxes, the charters are really more about housekeeping items.

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