Watch above: Come fall, Edmontonians are going to have to obey 30 km/h school zones. Nancy Carlson has the details.
EDMONTON – Beginning this fall, Edmonton drivers will have to slow down to 30 km/h around schools with elementary students.
“Edmontonians need to slow down in general,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “We do have a speed problem. And, especially around schools, it’s imperative that they slow down even more, and 30 km/h zones are going to help that happen, with enforcement.
“Penalities are going to be higher if you’re ripping through those zones and they should be,” Iveson said.
“I have no sympathy for people who put kids in danger.”
On Wednesday, councillors took another step forward, agreeing to allocate $500,000 to implement 30 km/h school zones at all schools with elementary grades, except if the school sits on an arterial road.
Under the proposed change, school zones would be in effect from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Transportation Committee recommended that Administration amend the Speed Zone Bylaw before September 30 of this year so that the speed limits in those zones can be lowered.
“They’ll see the new signage that says 30 km/h,” Councillor Bev Esslinger explained. “That will be enforced.
“The first day of school, every student is going to get information about this. There will be a campaign prior so no one’s surprised,” she added. “A lot of this is driver behaviour, and this is one way to get there, it’s a tool in the tool box.”
It has been decades since Edmonton had school zones.
“I’m pretty excited about this step,” said Esslinger, a former school board trustee.
“It’s been 40 years coming in Edmonton so it really represents a new direction for the city.”
The project would be funded by the projected extra revenue from automated enforcement fines.
How the schools zones will be monitored and enforced is still being determined, but Esslinger believes a proposed strategy would include a combination of photo radar and police enforcement.
“Traffic safety is the number one priority in this community,” said EPS Deputy Chief Brian Simpson.
“It’s about our kids and the safety of our kids.”