City staff have the go-ahead from Edmonton’s Community and Public Services Committee to lower the speed limits around playgrounds. But that’s not all — more has been added to their to-do list. Sports fields are now part of the mix.
That means, more than 400 spots will be considered for a speed limit of 30 km/h.
The report councillors debated identified another 194 playgrounds that are near schools. Adding in green spaces and sports fields bumps the total inventory to 417.
Edmonton began reducing the speed limit outside elementary schools in 2014. Junior high schools will be added this September.
Roads and Parks branch manager Gord Cebryk said staff will establish what kinds of hours of operation they should restrict the speed limit to 30 km/h as well as figuring out what to do on arterial roads that normally don’t have playgrounds but will have a sports field connected to it.
“There are many challenges and I think the work we’ll do over the course of the summer is to identify what makes the most sense, what can be understood by motorists and pedestrians and the users of the playgrounds and what is continuous across the city, so it’s not broken up and it’s continuous and it makes sense.”
It will cost about $600,000 to put up signs and run a communication program, the report said.
“There’s a lot of work that has to go into the planning and design component of putting this forward and the identifying a funding plan, and then to actually build and install as well as the communications around this,” Cebryk told reporters.
Cebryk expected some problems to crop up putting together a policy that provides some consistency for time of day, signage and distance, because the only thing about finding consistency in other cities’ rules is they’re inconsistent.
“The one thing that’s common is that everybody’s different right now,” Cebryk said.
“We’re going to try and look at what are the best practices and learn from that and based on that, we’ll make a recommendation in terms of the hours of operation and how they apply with relation to schools.”
Other solutions will be explored as well, especially if arterial roads are added, next to a sports field.
“If it’s predominately younger-aged children, a fence might be part of the equation. We’ll want to look at all of those different pieces.”
An update will be before city council in September, and everything should be in place before the end of the year.
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