68 Edmonton locations ID’d as 30 km/h playground that should be 50 km/h

Click to play video 'Dozens of playground zones could revert to 50km/h speeds' Dozens of playground zones could revert to 50km/h speeds
City administration has reviewed playground zones in Edmonton and determined nearly 70 of them don't meet the criteria and their speed limits could be increased. Vinesh Pratap explains – Aug 10, 2018

The City of Edmonton has finished re-evaluating the 406 playground speed zones it installed over the past year. As it turns out, 68 don’t meet the refined criteria, so you could see city council decide to revert those locations to 50 km/h.

The review looked at the makeup of the road, where it is in relation to the playground, and if there are other safety features in the design.

Councillor Andrew Knack is happy to see this second look because to him, there are two distinct types of roads.

“I think you can really separate it within communities,” he said. “There’s one perspective which generally most people suggest: ‘Yeah, I’m okay with going slower with in my neighborhood,’ but then it’s those main roads, whether or not they’re defined as arterial where I think there’s been that frustration.

“If you’ve got that busy collector road that’s been put with a playground zone and it has traffic lights, and it has fencing and it has all of those things that you would expect to be put in place to provide safe crossing, that becomes a lot harder to justify why you would leave that at a 30 km/h playground zone.”

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READ MORE: Report says 40 Edmonton playground zones could be removed

An example he points to in his west Edmonton ward is Westlawn School on 95 Avenue. He said the speed limit there should be back to 50 km/h.

“We’re going to balance safety against the need to make sure we’re moving people efficiently and maybe there’s some roads that are going to see some traffic signals installed that will help provide that safe passage which will allow us to keep the speeds where they are.”

At the other end of the scale is Riverbend Road, outside of Ramsay Park that Global News has featured where the speed limit alternates several times between 50 km/h and 30 km/h. It will remain as it is, and won’t increase to the faster speed limit.

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

In September 2017, city council endorsed the implementation of 30 km/h speed limits at playground zones, which are now divided into two categories, for 163 stand-alone playgrounds and 243 combined school and playground locations.

READ MORE: Edmonton councillors clash over issue of set residential speed limit

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A representative from city administration said the report is only for council’s information, and doesn’t recommend increasing speed limits in the 68 locations. Knack agrees it should be a political decision.

“This will ultimately be a council decision because I would expect there will likely be a few locations where based off all of their best advice and recommendations, they may suggest we should keep a playground zone in certain areas that council may still ultimately choose to remove, and that should be on council.”

The report will be reviewed by council’s Community and Public Services Committee next Wednesday.