News / Halifax

Slowing down on Spring Garden: Petition started to reduce speed to 30 km/h

Injury lawyer behind idea that he says will make pedestrians safer

Pedestrians cross the street at the base of Spring Garden Road.

Jeff Harper / Metro

Pedestrians cross the street at the base of Spring Garden Road.

A personal injury lawyer in Halifax has started an online petition asking the municipality to lower the speed limit on Spring Garden Road from 50 to 30 km/h.

Of the 208 vehicle/pedestrian accidents in Halifax last year, John McKiggan said several occurred on Spring Garden Road where his business is located.

He said research indicates the slight speed limit reduction from 50 km/h to 30 km/h lowers the risk of pedestrian death from 20 per cent to two per cent.

“If we can’t change people’s behaviour, in other words if people are going to drive distracted or walk distracted, then let’s try to make everyone safer,” Mckiggan said in an interview.

“If a small change in the speed limit can result in a dramatic reduction in the risk of injury or death, why not have that discussion?”

Mckiggan, who also volunteers for a group dedicated to ending distracted driving, launched the petition ( last week.

“I see all the time the terribly sad effects of car pedestrian accidents and how dangerous it can be even at relatively low speeds,” he said.

He said although the petition hasn’t been up long, it’s garnering attention.

“When you talk to people about this issue it’s really quite polarizing with some people saying all pedestrians are not being careful and the pedestrians saying drivers are terrible,” he said.

“When you look at the (police) statistics we see that the majority of car/pedestrian accidents happen in crosswalks. That suggests to me at least there may be enough blame to go around.”

After following recent discussions by Halifax regional council about rejuvenating Spring Garden Road, Mckiggan said he believed the time was right to launch the petition in the hopes of at least sparking a discussion.

“We are going to leave it up for about a month and see what kind of support we get and if there’s support for it, then we’re going to provide that information to Halifax city council so they can consider that when they’re discussing and deciding what to do with the Spring Garden Road rejuvenation project,” he said.

“It seems to me to be a perfect time to have the discussion.”

Halifax Regional Police spokeswoman Const. Dianne Woodworth said police would welcome the move.

“Although reducing speeds may not reduce the number of vehicle/pedestrian collisions, with reduced speed, there is usually better reaction time on the part of the driver,” Woodworth said.

“Also, injuries sustained from lower speed incidents are usually less severe. Halifax Regional Police supports the idea of safer streets for our pedestrians and driver alike.”

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