The City of Surrey launched its year-long Surrey Slow Streets pilot campaign on Thursday to better understand how reduced speed limits impact residential neighbourhoods.
Speed limits have been reduced in six Surrey neighbourhood zones for the project’s duration. Three now have 30 km/hr posted speed limits and the other three, 40 km/h limits, with signs indicating the new speed limits in accordance with B.C. Motor Vehicle Act legislation.
“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,” Mayor Doug McCallum said. “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.”
Last December city council approved the project.
“The pilot project has been carefully designed to test the impacts of reduced speed limits such that staff can make informed recommendations with regards to residential area speed limits city-wide,” Scott Neuman, Surrey’s general manager of engineering, told council in a corporate report in December 2020.
The city identified eight stretches of road are included in the study, but two of them will be control sites and keep the present posted limited of 50 km/h.
They are between 96 Avenue and 100 Avenue from 124 Street and 128 Street, between 75 Avenue and 80 Avenue from 120A Street and 124 Street, between Rosemary Heights Crescent and 40 Avenue from 153 Street and 156B Street, between 56 Avenue and 60 Avenue from 180 Street and 184 Street, between 60 Avenue and 64 Avenue from 132 Street and 136 Street, between 88 Avenue and 92 Avenue from King George Boulevard and 140 Street, between 104 Avenue and 108 Avenue from 128 Street and 132 Street, and between 100 Avenue and 104 Avenue from 140 Street and 144 Street.
Neuman also told council in February that city staff are comparing what other cities are doing about speed limits as part of the Vision Zero Surrey plan.
Shabnem Afzal, Surrey’s road safety manager, noted that the faster people drive, the less time they have to react to unexpected hazards.
“As travel speeds increase, the risk of death and injury increase significantly, if you’re involved in a crash,” Afzal said.
Dr. Emily Newhouse, Fraser Health’s medical health officer, noted that speed vehicles are “consistently” a top factor in deterring Surrey residents from being more active near 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,” she said.