Montreal’s Innovative Speed Limit Signs
As the song says, “Money’s too tight to mention”. Whether people or countries, provinces or states, even cities, with but a few exceptions, there never seems to be enough cash to do all the things required or wanted.
I’m pleased to be able to write that while my city, Montreal, like many others, is in a financial bind, efforts are being made to cut costs. Not just by raising taxes, or cutting back on services, but by means of good old fashioned innovation.
Many North American cities are discovering that the system of speed limits being determined by certain zones is no longer useful, and that even within a relatively small area two or three different speed limits would be more apt, depending on schools, parks, number of children, etc.
To adapt to these new speed limit requirements, a study was undertaken and the various areas of the city were examined street-by-street to determine what best suited each particular district. The findings were reported to City Council late last year. With this report in hand the city was now faced with the daunting task of changing a large number of the existing speed limits, and of course the speed limit postings.
Here comes the innovative part. A woman in the city’s accounting department brought forth a suggestion that made its way through the proper channels – no mean feat in most civic administrations – and will be implemented starting this spring. The woman suggested that rather than change thousands of existing signs, a method of adapting them to fit the new speed limits would save much time and expense. Her idea was to crimp the corner(s) of speed limit signs as needed. For each crimped corner the posted speed limit is reduced by 2.5 kilometers an hour. For instance, a sign indicating a speed limit of 40 kilometers per hour (k/ph) with two crimped corners would now mean a limit of 35 k/ph; that’s 40 – (2.5 x 2) = 35. The photograph above shows a sign that was originally posting a 30 k/ph limit but with all four corners crimped is now a 20 k/ph zone, owing to a large school and park on the street.
A recent CBC item had a comment from an unnamed city official explaining that students will be hired this summer to undertake the crimping “… by using a special tool that is a cross between a long-handled tree pruner and a pair of vise-grips”.
During the late summer return-to-school period the city will launch a media campaign explaining the new signage and how it works.
In a time of foolish often frivolous government spending I am pleased to say that my city is at least trying to use its head when it comes to cutting costs. Although I am sure in the first stages of the roll-out many motorists will be fooled by this crimping of signs, this will just plunk more cash in the city coffers via speeding tickets! The full details of the CBC story can be seen here.