The city started putting up 30 km/h speed limit signs around Edmonton playgrounds on Friday after council voted unanimously to expand school zones to more areas.
City crews started installing signs at 178 stand-alone playgrounds on Friday. They hope to have all 425 playgrounds and play areas marked by the end of the year. Those sites include 195 playgrounds adjacent to schools, 36 playgrounds already included within existing school zones and 16 new schools.
Once the speed signs are posted, the speed limit is in effect and enforceable. The 30 km/h speed limit is in effect every day from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“Children play on school grounds after school hours and on the weekends,” Gord Cebryk, with the city’s parks and roads services, said. “It makes sense to extend protection for them.”
Earlier this week, councillors voted to expand the lower speed limit already in place around elementary and junior high schools to include playgrounds.
“Vision Zero looks proactively at where we can prevent injuries and save lives,” Cebryk said. “Implementing playground speed limits is about keeping vulnerable children safe.”
Driving at or below 30 km/h where children play reduces the distance travelled during reaction and braking time, thereby reducing the number of collisions, the force at which vehicles hit pedestrians and the severity of injuries, the city said.
One southwest Edmonton resident said he doesn’t have an issue with the 30 km/h limits, but wishes drivers would be aware and safe at all hours of the day and night.
“The big thing about it is it’s 7:30 to nine at night and there’s some kids who play out past nine o’clock,” Haddow resident Isaac Walton said. “This gets people thinking there’s not kids there after nine o’clock at night and that’s not the case.”
Traffic safety statistics show a marked reduction in pedestrian and cyclist injuries with the introduction of 30 km/h school zones in Edmonton.