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City launches trial of first 'slow zone' in Vancouver with lower speed limit

Slow down, Vancouver drivers.
The City of Vancouver launched a trial of its first slow zone for local streets in East Vancouver today. Photo via City of Vancouver

The City of Vancouver launched a trial of its first slow zone for local streets in East Vancouver today. 

A slow zone is a specifically designated area with slower speeds than other streets. The trial kicked off in the Grandview-Woodland area Wednesday (March 3) and will test an official speed-limit reduction on local streets from 50 km/h (the default speed in the city), explains a news release.

The first slow zone boundaries are Clark Drive, First Avenue, Commercial Drive and Grandview Highway North. Gateway signs, speed limit signs and paint markings will be posted to alert drivers the speed limit is 30 km/h on local streets.

Access and parking in the neighbourhood will not be affected.

Slow zone pilot in Vancouver 

The City launched the slow zone pilot in an effort to advance its "Moving Towards Zero" efforts to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries.

Slower speeds dramatically improve safety for people walking and cycling. According to studies completed by the World Health Organization, higher speeds equal higher probability of fatality. For example, when a vehicle hits a pedestrian at 30 km/h the probability of fatality is 15 per cent. The probability of a fatality increases to 50 per cent when the speed is 50 km/h.

In the fall, staff will report to Council with data results and public feedback received through 311, VanConnect and the [email protected] email. This pilot will provide information to design other slow zones in the City. 

Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood

In July 2020, Council approved the creation of the slow zone pilot within the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood. The area was identified by staff as the top-ranked neighbourhood based on:

  • Speeds
  • Collisions
  • Vulnerable populations (seniors/children/low income)
  • Community amenities

Walking is the top priority in the City’s Transportation 2040 Plan, and the City is working to improve the safety and comfort of our streets and sidewalks for all road users.

Recently, Former NPA Vancouver councillor, now-independent Rebecca Bligh came under fire for her comments that called for the City to increase the speed limits, rather than decrease them. In response to public outcry on social media, Bligh issued an apology and expanded on her thoughts in a blog post.