Lower speed limit signs coming to East York … but not right away

New signs for reduced speed limits will not be posted on residential streets in East York until early next year, according to Toronto and East York Transportation Services.

The vote to reduce speed limits was approved unanimously by the Toronto and East York community council in early September. The speed limit on some residential roads in East York officially went from 40 kilometres per hour to 30, a week ago.

Toronto and East York Transportation Services supervisor Sandra Burk said the delay in posting the signs is because the process is complex.

Transportation Services first identifies all the local streets affected in a particular ward, she said, then it prepares bylaw amendments to reduce the speed limit from 40 to 30 km/h. When community council passes the new speed limit bylaw, the signs and markings department is notified, and it changes the signs.

“We are doing it ward by ward since we are aiming to change the signs as quickly as possible following the bylaw amendments,” Burk said in an interview.

However, community council meetings – the only place where these amendments can be passed – only take place once a month.

“So, depending on the scheduling, there are only so (many) bylaw amendments that we can get ready for each community council meeting,” Burk said.

The community council meeting on Oct. 6 is scheduled to deal with Ward 31 (north of Danforth to Sunrise) and Ward 32 (south of Danforth to the beaches).

The effort to reduce residential speed limits began when seven-year-old Georgia Walsh was struck and killed by a van in Leaside in July 2014.

Coun. Gord Perks, who helped promote the speed limit reduction, believes the move will bring additional benefits.

“By changing the speed limit you (bring about) better driver training, different expectation of what speed people drive at, different speed regulations and new street designs,” Perks said.

The reduced speed in residential areas also means that those driving 40 to 50 km/h will face stiffer fines. Giorgio Papadakis, who drives to work near Pape and Danforth every day, sees the change in speed limit as an opportunity for the police to hand out more tickets.

“I think people are still going to continue the same speed they have been going,” he said. “To me, this is just a money grab.”

Papadakis agrees that the speed limit reduction will help save lives, but it does not necessarily solve the root of the problem. He believes education is more important.

“As a parent, you have to teach your kids not to run out onto the roads – look both ways before you cross and hold the parent’s hand,” he said. “Streets are dangerous whether or not you go at 30 km/h, 40 km/h or 50 km/h.”