‘A ben­e­fit for all chil­dren’

City ap­proves slower play­ground speed lim­its

StarMetro Edmonton - - Edmonton - Kash­mala fida

Af­ter a lengthy de­bate city coun­cil­lors on Tues­day unan­i­mously ap­proved a plan to re­duce speed lim­its around Ed­mon­ton’s 435 play­grounds to 30 km/h.

Cur­rently, driv­ers must go 30 km/h near schools, but can speed up to 50 km/h once they reach the play area.

In­stead of call­ing them school zones, the city will start re­fer­ring to all ar­eas un­der the new lower limit as play­ground zones.

“I think ... unan­i­mous sup­port shows that coun­cil is re­ally ded­i­cated to show­ing sup­port for Vi­sion Zero,” said Gord Se­bryk, branch man­ager for parks and road ser­vices.

“What we are look­ing for is aware­ness,” he said, “which is re­ally about im­prov­ing safety in the city for vul­ner­a­ble road users as well as all road users,” he said.

Vi­sion Zero is a goal adopted by the City of Ed­mon­ton to re­duce traf­fic fa­tal­i­ties and in­juries to zero.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­quested a bud­get of ap­prox­i­mately $1 mil­lion for the im­ple­men­ta­tion.

The bud­get will cover in­stal­la­tion of yel­low re­flec­tive tape around signs, signs that dis­play a driver’s speed, as well as sign alerts that use LED flash­ing lights which are ac­ti­vated when driv­ers ap­proach the signs.

But some coun­cil­lors weren’t con­vinced that chang­ing speed lim­its and in­stalling signs would ac­tu­ally help.

Coun. Mike Nickel read a study from Win­nipeg where they de­cided not to change speed lim­its as it sug­gested that “speed lim­its that are in­con­sis­tent with driver ex­pec­ta­tions can lead to driver frus­tra­tion. Some driv­ers will obey the lower speed limit while oth­ers will think it’s un­rea­son­able there­fore ig­nore it.”

De­spite their reser­va­tions, coun­cil voted 13-0 in favour of the new lim­its.

“I’m sur­prised that it seemed to change some peo­ple’s minds,” said Coun. Ben Esslinger.

“But you know maybe it’s a sober sec­ond thought or hear­ing the dis­cus­sion so I’m very pleased that peo­ple saw the need to have play­ground zones.”

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of play­ground speed lim­its is ex­pected to hap­pen by the end of the year.

“I think is go­ing to be a ben­e­fit for all chil­dren in Ed­mon­ton,” Esslinger said.

Metro file

Stu­dents cross the streets out­side of West­min­ster Jr High.

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