There is a perceptive cultural shift on how people in this province are viewing their residential streets and their ability to use those streets for more than just a vehicular driving conduit. I have been writing about how slower streets are now being adopted around the world and how slower speeds of 20 miles per hour or 30 kilometres per hour reduces deaths and serious injury from vehicular crashes.
Slower street speeds also enhance livability, sociability, and the ability for neighbourhoods to use streets as public living rooms for street hockey and interaction. Lowering speed also reduces emissions and enhances sustainability.
In the City of Bristol which has universally adopted the slower speed, 95 percent of respondents want the slower speeds maintained in all residential and school zoned areas.
Mario Canseco has just released a new poll where he asked residents across British Columbia how they perceived the traffic on the street where they lived. His online poll of a “representative provincial sample” showed that “58% of British Columbians say they would “definitely” or “probably” like to see the speed limit reduced to 30 km/h on all residential streets in their own municipality, while keeping the speed limit on arterial and collector roads at 50 km/h.”
When asked about Vancouver’s pilot project to have a demonstration project of slower residential speeds, two thirds (66%) of people in the Province thought it was a good idea, with only 22% saying it was a bad or very bad thing.
Here is where it gets interesting-Mario also found that people surveyed supportive of slower speeds were 74 and 72 percent voting for the BC New Democratic Party and the BC Green Party than the BC Liberals which were at 60 percent.
Support for slower residential streets was strongest with women with 63 per cent supporting speed reduction. People aged 35 to 54 were most likely to support slower speeds, with residents of Vancouver Island having the highest support at 60 percent.
Mario Canseco’s poll illustrates the sea change in residents wanting to take back their streets for more than automobile use, and rethinking the 20th century prevalence and dominance of vehicle movement as having precedent over all other street activities. It is a welcome cultural shift in recalibrating neighbourhoods for walking, cycling and social connection, not just vehicular movement.