Changes to provincial legislation have made it much easier for cities to lower speed limits on residential streets, but Greater Sudbury should wait before lowering speeds, says a report headed to the operations committee Monday.

Currently, the Ontario Highway Traffic Act sets 50 km/h as the limit in residential areas, known as the statutory speed limit. Before the act was changed, posting a lower limit required extensive signage along the roadway.

The last time a 40 km/h speed limit was considered in Sudbury was in 2014, when a study concluded that 9,600 signs would have to be replaced at a cost of $2.5 million, plus an extra $125,000 in annual maintenance costs.

Under the proposal, the cost of switching to the lower limit would be $320,000, with an added $8,170 in maintenance costs each year.

However, studies conducted in areas where the limit is already 40 km/h have found drivers travel at the same speeds regardless of what the posted limits are.

A study of 121,660 vehicles in a 40 km/h zone found the average speed was 47 km/h, compared to 48 km/h found in studies involving more than one million vehicles travelling on roads where the limit is 50 km/h.

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