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Citizens Information Service

Public Works

Speed Limit Signing

As a general rule, the speed limit on streets in the built-up sector of the City is 50 km/h unless otherwise posted (back lanes is 30 km/h). There are signs posted on major arterial routes at entry points to the built-up sector of the City stating:

Urban Speed Area
MAXIMUM
50 km/h
Unless Otherwise Posted

Back Lanes MAXIMUM 30 km/h

The enabling legislation that authorizes The City of Winnipeg to post Urban Speed Area signs to make known to motorists that they are entering the built-up restricted speed area upon which the speed limit on streets is 50 km/h unless otherwise indicated is contained in Section 77(2) of the Highway Traffic Act. Section 77(1) of the Act authorizes the manner in which modified speed limits are to be posted. Excerpts from the Highway Traffic Act are shown below.

BY TRAFFIC AUTHORITIES

Erection of traffic control devices

77(1)       The traffic authority shall erect and maintain such traffic control devices as are reasonably necessary to make known to drivers of motor vehicles the maximum rate of speed permissible on any part of a highway; and the traffic control devices shall be erected and maintained in such a way that they face traffic

  • entering the section of highway where the maximum rate of speed begins; and
  • at intervals, over the length of highway to which they apply.

Restricted speed area sign for Winnipeg

77(2)       The City of Winnipeg may cause to be erected on any highway running from Provincial Trunk Highway 100 or 101, in or towards a restricted speed area lying in the area bounded by those Provincial Trunk Highways, and at the beginning of that restricted speed area,

  • a sign facing traffic that is entering that restricted speed area, indicating that the maximum speed permissible in the restricted speed area is 50 kilometres an hour unless otherwise indicated; and
  • a sign facing traffic that is leaving the restricted speed area to proceed on the highway toward Provincial Trunk Highway 100 or 101, indicating that the traffic, at that place, has left or is about to leave, the restricted speed area.

Signs on designated highways

77(3)       In the case of a highway or portion thereof designated under subsection 97(1), it is sufficient compliance with subsection (1) if there is erected, at each end of the highway or portion thereof,

  • a sign facing traffic entering the designated highway or portion thereof and indicating that the maximum speed permissible therein is 50 kilometres per hour; and
  • a sign facing traffic leaving the designated highway or portion thereof and indicating that that the maximum speed to which reference is made in clause (a) is not thereafter applicable.

Signs in restricted speed areas

77(4)       Where, in a municipality that is otherwise wholly within a restricted speed area, there is or are one or more highways,

  • on which a rate of speed greater than 50 kilometres per hour is permissible; and
  • in respect of which traffic control devices are in place as required under subsection (1);

    it is a sufficient compliance with subsection (1) if there are erected, at each point where a highway to which clause (a) applies crosses the boundary of the municipality,

  • a sign facing traffic entering the municipality, and indicating that the maximum speed permissible in the municipality is 50 kilometres per hour unless otherwise indicated; and
  • a sign facing traffic leaving the municipality, and indicating that the traffic is at that point leaving the municipality.

Signs affecting speed in back lanes

77(5)       Where a municipality has by by-law, made under section 103, fixed a lower rate of speed on back lanes than the speed permissible under subsection 95(1), it is sufficient compliance with subsection (1) if the municipality erects, at each point where a highway crosses the boundary of the municipality or in the case of The City of Winnipeg in accordance with subsection (2), a sign, of the type approved by the traffic board, facing traffic entering the municipality or the city indicating the maximum rate of speed permissible on back lanes in the municipality.

PRESUMPTIONS

Presumption of proper erection of traffic control devices

80          The existence on a highway of a sign, marking, poster, notice, or traffic control device such as is required or permitted by this Act, purporting to regulate the use of the highway in any manner, raises the prima facie presumption that the sign, marking, poster, notice, or traffic control device was duly erected and maintained by the proper authority pursuant to the power given by this Act and in accordance therewith.

In Winnipeg, within the Urban Speed Area, all streets upon which the speed limit has been modified to something other than 50 km/h have been posted with the modified speed limit. There are a number of streets in the built-up area of the City, generally major arterial routes, upon which the speed limit has been modified to a speed limit higher than 50 km/h. The modified speed limit on such streets range from 60 km/h on streets such as Henderson Highway, 70 km/h on streets such as Inkster Boulevard between Keewatin Street and Brookside Boulevard, 80 km/h on streets such as Bishop Grandin Boulevard, 90 km/h on streets such as St. Mary's Road 200 metres south Fraser Road and the southern boundary of the City of Winnipeg. On streets where the speed limit has been modified to a speed limit higher than 50 km/h, the modified speed limit is posted on such a street near major intersecting streets and periodically between major intersecting streets where the distance between the major intersecting streets is significant. 

When a motorist, traveling on a street upon which the speed limit is modified, turns onto an intersecting street (a motorists should be aware that he has entered another street since intersecting streets are identified with a street name sign), the motorist, in the absence of a posting of a speed limit indicating otherwise, must assume the speed limit on the street onto which he has turned is 50 km/h. For instance, on Portage Avenue at Arlington Street upon which the speed limit has been modified to 60 km/h, when a westbound motorist on Portage Avenue turns right onto Arlington Street upon which the speed limit has not been modified and upon which no signs are posted to indicate that the speed limit thereon has been modified, must assume that the speed limit on Arlington Street is 50 km/h and not otherwise. Similarly, on Portage Avenue at Main Street upon which the speed limit has not been modified and is 50 km/h, when an eastbound motorist on Portage Avenue turns left onto Main Street upon which the speed limit has not been modified and upon which no signs are posted to indicate that the speed limit thereon has been modified, must assume that the speed limit on Main Street is 50 km/h and not otherwise. On a street upon which the speed limit has been modified, it is not reasonable to post the modified speed limit on such a street for motorists entering from every intersecting street. In such a case of a motorist entering a street upon which the speed limit has been modified to something other than 50 km/h, in the absence of a posting of a speed limit indicating otherwise, a motorist must assume that the speed limit on the street being entered is 50 km/h until the point at which the modified speed limit is made known to motorists with the modified speed limit posting. As referred to above, the modified speed limit is posted on such a street near major intersecting streets and periodically between major intersecting streets where the distance between the major intersecting streets is significant. 

Approximately 85% of City Streets have a speed limit of 50 km/h and approximately 15% have a speed limit of 60 km/h or greater. As such, the vast majority of the total kilometres of streets in the City have a speed limit of 50 km/h.

Such a system of signing speed limits, identifying the Urban Speed Area and posting of the speed limit only on those streets that have been modified to something other than 50 km/h, eliminates the need to post speed limits on all the numerous kilometres of streets in the City and, therefore, eliminates the significant cost associated with their initial installation and maintenance in perpetuity. Such a system of speed limit signing, which has been in use in Winnipeg for decades, is economical, understandable, and is enforceable.

To selectively post 50 km/h signs on streets upon which the speed limit is 50 km/h would result in two types of 50 km/h streets - those that are signed at 50 km/h, and the hundreds of kilometres of streets that are not signed at 50 km/h. Such inconsistency in signing would erode the “Maximum 50 km/h Unless Otherwise Posted” rule, potentially confusing motorists. As such, since it is not economically feasible to post 50 km/h signs on all streets with a 50 km/h speed limit, they should not be selectively posted on some 50 km/h streets and not on other 50 km/h streets. 

Based on the above information, 50 km/h signing on streets is not required to make such a speed limit known to motorists or to make the speed limit thereon enforceable, other than where the speed limit on a street decreases from a modified speed limit higher than 50 km/h to 50 km/h.

Comment on Importance of Enforcement to Secure Traffic Safety

The Public Works Department recognizes the important role that enforcement serves in enhancing traffic safety. It should be noted that enforcement of the speed limit on Winnipeg’s streets is not necessarily limited to the use of Image Capturing Enforcement Devices at certain traffic signal controlled intersections. The speed limit is enforced with an Image Capturing Enforcement Device in areas adjacent to schools and playgrounds and at construction sites. The speed limit is also enforced throughout the street system using radar and laser technology as well as via conventional patrolling in Police vehicles. That is, there is no additional special posting of the speed limit on streets where radar, laser, or conventional Police patrol enforcement is undertaken, and no additional speed limit signing is posted on streets where the speed limit is enforced with an Image Capturing Enforcement Device, other than if such a location is in close proximity to where it is necessary to make known to motorists the existence of a modified speed limit.

The Provincial government has enacted enabling legislation for the use of an “Imaging Capturing Enforcement System” for purposes of enforcing red light and/or speeding at specific locations. Provincial legislation provides for the posting of “Photo-Enforced” signs on streets approaching traffic signal controlled intersections equipped with an “Imaging Capturing Enforcement System”. Use of an “Imaging Capturing Enforcement System” is deemed to be an additional and efficient tool available for use by those who are charged with enforcing the “Rules of the Road” and making our streets as safe as is reasonably achievable.

It should be noted that motorists should be aware that in accordance with The Highway Traffic Act of Manitoba, they are obliged to operate at a speed lower than the speed limit, including lower than the 50 km/h speed limit, if conditions and circumstances so dictate, such as where "any factor exists in the face of which failure to reduce that speed, or to stop the vehicle temporarily, constitutes a danger to any person or property visible to the driver".


Last update: October 16, 2015