Report says 40 Edmonton playground zones could be removed

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WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton councillor Tim Cartmell thinks the city rushed its playground speed zone implementation and says more than two dozen zones could soon be removed. Kendra Slugoski reports – Apr 19, 2018

Less than two weeks after the final Edmonton school zone was turned into a playground zone, 40 have been flagged for review.

The possible changes were revealed in a report published to the city’s website Wednesday, which will be debated at the next council meeting. Thanks to the vague definition of what constitutes a playground, more than three dozen spots across the city could return to the previous speed limit, the report stated.

READ MORE: Last Edmonton school zones converted to playground zones

At a previous meeting on Nov. 14, 2017, a “playground” was defined as anywhere children may be playing.

Forty playgrounds are set to be reviewed. (See the full list below)

City staff said 28 of those likely shouldn’t be considered playground zones based on provincial guidelines that were set a decade ago.

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“It talks about the setback, for instance, of playground equipment from the street. It talks about the amount of frontage,” Councillor Tim Cartmell said. “It talks about the type of roadway that we’re on. It talks about playground areas versus playground zones.”

“I don’t see that application to our work.”

One of the recommendations is to define a playground as anywhere playground equipment is present. Twenty-five of the 28 playground zones highlighted by Cartmell could be changed if that recommendation was adopted.

The other three could be changed because they are in an industrial area.

Twelve other playground zones are being reviewed based on the roadway they border. Three are along a multi-lane road, while another nine line extra-wide roads.

READ MORE: Changes to playground zones in Edmonton confuse some drivers

That recommendation looks at existing playground zones along roadways with multiple lanes and higher traffic volumes, as well as extra-wide roadways.

Cartmell intends to introduce motions to adapt those stretches of road that go back and forth between 50 km/h and 30km/h repeatedly.

Gord Cebryk, the branch manager for the city’s parks and roads services, said the playground zones put in last year fit what council asked for.

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“When we installed them the direction was to install them at all zones that met the definition,” he said. “Certainly we can go back and do the analytical piece that says it has certain criteria that’s met so it doesn’t require the zoning.”

READ MORE: Edmonton students calling on drivers to slow down in school zones

In a school zone, the speed limit is 30 km/h between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., on days that students are in school. In a playground zone, the speed limit is 30 km/h from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

In September 2017, city council voted unanimously to turn all school zones into playground zones. The first conversion happened that November.

Earlier this year two locations – W.P. Wagner School at Wagner Road and 86 Street and L.Y. Cairns Junior High School at 106 Street and 45 Avenue – were reviewed and the city decided not to turn them into playground zones.

There are 407 playground zones in Edmonton.

– With files from Scott Johnston, 630 CHED