Opinion Column

Video highlights need for speed limit review in Vancouver 0

Daniel Fontaine

By Daniel Fontaine, Dialogue with a Difference

Some Metro Vancouver roads are six-lanes wide and located a safe distance from residential homes, yet are saddled with speeds limits that are set ridiculously low. This is a screen grab from the YouTube video 'Speed Kills: Your Pocketbook' (SCREEN GRAB YOUTUBE.COM)

Some Metro Vancouver roads are six-lanes wide and located a safe distance from residential homes, yet are saddled with speeds limits that are set ridiculously low. This is a screen grab from the YouTube video 'Speed Kills: Your Pocketbook' (SCREEN GRAB YOUTUBE.COM)

If you have ever driven westbound from Boundary Road along Marine Drive and asked yourself why the speed limit is set at only 50 km/h — you are not alone. The road is six-lanes wide and in many sections does not face any single-family residences.

That particular stretch of pavement happens to be the focus of a brilliant new YouTube video released by the group Safety by Education Not Speed Enforcement — also known as Sense B.C. — which garnered more than one million hits in only a few weeks. Produced by Chris Thompson, Speed Kills: Your Pocketbook is a no-nonsense look at speed limits that has clearly struck a chord.

For as long as I can remember, the maximum speed permitted on Marine Drive has been set ridiculously low. Coincidentally, it also happens to be a perennial favourite for Vancouver Police Department speed traps.

Before I go any further, let me confess I am likely the guy you are honking at because I am driving slowly in the fast lane. In more than 30 years behind the wheel, I have yet to be issued any kind of traffic infraction — including a speeding ticket.

Notwithstanding my desire to obey posted speed limits, there is clearly a need to review how fast vehicles should be allowed to go on a select number of urban roads.

But if you have a desire to drive safely and legally at 80 km/h on Marine Drive sometime soon, don’t hold your breath. The announcement by Transportation Minister Todd Stone that the B.C. government is reviewing posted speed limits does not apply to Metro Vancouver roads.

According to a ministry news release, “the government of B.C. is reviewing speed limits on longer stretches of provincial highways between communities, and will be seeking public input starting this November as part of the process.”

A review of speed limits on city roads would have been more politically thorny, but it is still something worth considering. Unfortunately, now it will have to be initiated by cash-strapped local municipal governments who often rely on ticket revenue to help fund core services.

While the section of Marine Drive highlighted in the Sense video is particularly bad, it is by no means alone. Travel is too slow along any number of urban roads, such as Lougheed Highway. It is obvious we need a review of urban speed limits.

What do you consider to be a bad stretch of road in Metro Vancouver when it comes to speed limits being set too low? We want to hear from you, feel free to comment below.

Daniel Fontaine is a local political commentator. Follow him on Twitter @Fontaine_D. 

  

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