Manitoba municipalities may soon have individual control over their own speed limits. Up until now, speed limits were set by the Highway Traffic Board. A new bill before the legislature would grant municipal bodies the ability to raise or lower speed limits, establish crosswalks or enact other pedestrian safety features.

Portage la Prairie Mayor Irvine Ferris spoke about his thoughts on the issue.

"I know, myself, and mayors in pretty well every city in Manitoba, really felt strongly that the Manitoba Highway Traffic Board had probably outlived its usefulness," says Ferris. "When we dealt with them, they seemed out of touch with today's stats around pedestrian safety and regulating traffic and those kinds of things."

One of the issues Ferris brought up was school zone speed limits. City council had to go through a process that took nearly two years in order to get the changes approved for the speed zone changes. Ferris adds from a safety standpoint, that was simply not an acceptable period of time to wait. He adds council will more easily and quickly be able to respond to safety issues that may arise around the area in relation to traffic and pedestrians.

Ferris also notes any changes necessary would probably be driven by the particular area or neighbourhood, which is in line with what happens in larger cities around Canada. The legislative changes could come into effect as soon as this Monday, March 12th.