A letter I sent to the members of the Executive Policy Committee, who will be voting on enacting Winnipeg’s new speed limit by-law at tomorrow’s meeting.
Good morning, Mayor Bowman and members of Executive Policy Committee
I’m unable to attend the EPC meeting as a delegation tomorrow morning, but I wanted to submit my feedback to you on the vitally important issue of Winnipeg’s new speed limit by-law.
You will be hearing from many smart, passionate people at tomorrow’s meeting, many there because of the Safe Speeds Wpg campaign, which is advocating for 30km/h residential speeds. I know they will be providing you with solid evidence on why adopting lower speed limits is the only acceptable path for Winnipeg. I add my voice to theirs to urge you to do the right thing, even when you think you have no support and fear the backlash from your constituents.
I know you are all parents, like I am. Although your kids are almost all out of car seats, I want you to think about those days. Chances are good that you can remember at least one time when your child did not want to sit down and be buckled into their car seat. (Or, if you had a child like one of mine, it was a struggle every single time!)
Think back to what you did in those instances (sorry, I know they’re not exactly rosy memories!!). Your child was screaming, contorting, fighting back – anything to resist being strapped into the safety of his or her car seat. In those moments, did you consider for even half a second that you might just not worry about the car seat this time? No. You took a deep breath, and you gave yourself and your kid a pep talk, and you did up those buckles. Because you were the parent and you knew that safety was YOUR job and NOT OPTIONAL.
I know you’re already facing loud opposition to reduced speeds and that when you enact safe speeds you’ll get a lot of pushback. But this is your job. We’re one year into your terms and by 2022, people will have adapted to our new reality and possibly even come to realize that safe speeds are better for everyone.
Please don’t let the loud, angry voices of the drivers who are opposed to safe speeds drown out the voices of the people who can see that 30km/h speed limits will make a better, safer city for people of all ages, abilities and modes of transportation. We don’t need public consultation or pilot projects or further investigation. The evidence might not be popular, but it is clear and not up for debate: slower speeds save lives and make healthier cities.
When you discuss and vote on this issue tomorrow, please remember the child who is kicking and screaming about being put in the carseat, and whether you gave in or held your ground.
Winnipeg needs leaders who care as much about the lives of its citizens as they care about the safety of their own children.
Please make the right choice.