Councillors will try to streamline speed limits on Edmonton roads

Click to play video 'Debate over Edmonton playground zones isn’t over' Debate over Edmonton playground zones isn’t over
WATCH ABOVE: Edmontonians are still getting used to the new playground zones. There are more than 400 across the capital, and while all the signs are now in, the debate at city hall is not over yet. Vinesh Pratap reports.

City councillors intend to sort out the patchwork quilt of speed limits on Edmonton’s roads next week.

Two reports are headed to council’s Community and Public Services Committee that will set a more consistent speed limit and also review the changes made last summer to regulate speed outside playgrounds.

Ward 9 Councillor Tim Cartmell received close to 700 responses when he posted a survey on his blog in the first day it was active. He said it’s in response to the feedback his office heard, which tells him speed limits are what prompts the most reaction by drivers.

“We all went into an election period where we did hear some reaction to that — and primarily concerns how the school zones have been implemented — where they’ve gone, how long they are, those kinds of things.

“The report was asked for immediately after the election, so we’ll examine if it needs to be tweaked.”

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Cartmell’s survey asks about changing the hours of the day in which slower speed limits are active, if more playgrounds can be protected with fencing, keeping things as they are now, or starting over and establishing new speed limits.

READ MORE: Edmonton changes to ‘suggested’ speed limits on exit ramps

Councillor Andrew Knack said the playground report and the speed limit review were supposed to be released in January, but were held back by city staff to get more public input.

Knack isn’t on the committee but he’s been working to have a motion debated that would see limits on the side streets inside communities at 30 km/h, the main road that runs through a community set at 40 km/h, and then all arterial roads that are wide open at 60 km/h, up from 50 km/h in some cases.

“You’ll have a set speed on arterial roads and that will just help everyone.

“The net is going to be positive for travel time because we spend far more time on arterial roads than we do on the streets in front of our communities.”

Knack believes enforcement outside well-protected playgrounds on wide-open arterial roads were mistakenly swept up in the move to have all places where it’s expected children could be. He anticipates that, at a minimum, council will correct that.

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Legislation passed by the Alberta government now allows cities to set their own default minimum speed limits, so next week’s debate could set the changes.