Expect to see slower speed limits as bicycle lanes and other transportation upgrades projects are carried out in downtown Nanaimo.
Work recently completed on Front Street also dropped speeds along sections of the roadway to 30km/h. The lower speeds were partly the result of public consultation in 2019 prior to the start of the project to add bicycle lanes and make the street more pedestrian-friendly, but a section of Front Street already had a 30km/h speed limit prior to the project.
Barbara Thomas, city assistant manager of transportation, said people indicated they wanted the lowered speed limits when the city conducted its downtown mobility project cconsultation and presented plans for the bike lanes and other changes to Front Street.
“The feedback that we had through that project was the public wanted to see a 30km/h zone in the downtown area, so this is working towards that,” Thomas said. “Just generally, in the city, when residents are unhappy with the speeds in their neighbourhoods they like to see 30km/h zones implemented.”
Thomas said there’s a lot of engineering that happens prior to posting new speed limits and in Front Street’s case the nature of the street was changed.
“So a 30km/h now fits with the nature of the street,” she said. “That’s the culture and the ambience that we’re wanting to create with a two-way bike lane, so 30km/h facilitates that.”
The 30km/h limit, previously in effect from Esplanade to Museum Way, now extends all the way to the Terminal Avenue and Comox Road intersection.
There will likely be lowering of speed limits as more bike lanes are added as part of other infrastructure and transportation upgrades, which Thomas said she would personally like to see, but any decisions to do so would have to come about from further public consultation and approval from city council.
“The residents that live there and the businesses would probably appreciate a 30km/h zone in the whole area and I like it for pedestrian and cyclist safety. We don’t always have good compliance with our lower speed zones, so that would be one of the considerations going forward,” Thomas said.
Commercial Street already has a 30km/h speed limit and Wallace Street is a likely candidate for lowered speed limits, too, she said.
“We have some development applications along Wallace and eventually it will have bike lanes on it and I think at that point in time we would consider lowering it to a 40 or maybe a 30, so as that street evolves to be more urban, we would look at lowering the speed limit,” Thomas said.