Despite a considerable delay, the city is still looking towards big changes for school zones come September.
“We’re finding that people are, in fact, speeding through school zones, parking inappropriately, and it’s time for an education component that revisits all of that,” city councillor Mike O’Donnell said.
Regina’s executive committee discussed several major changes for the first time on Wednesday.
They include banning U-turns, lowering the speed limit to 30 km/h in school zones and reducing the speed limit times from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. – 365 days a year.
“We estimate it would be five to six seconds per school zone just on that speed reduction,” Regina roadways and transportation director Norman Kyle said. “The survival rate of a child goes up by about 40 per cent in that 10 kilometre speed difference.”
The committee also hopes to audit every school and park zone in Regina- which could mean eliminating some school zones altogether.
“I would suspect a majority of our high schools, especially ones on major roads, arterial roads, McCarthy, Lewvan- those would not have reduced speeds,” Kyle said. “But they would become school zones with signs to make motorists aware that children may be present.”
Sign changes come with an estimated $180,000 price tag. Up to $45,000 could be funded from the existing 2018 Traffic Infrastructure Renewal budget. The rest would require more funding in 2019.
Additional options to calm down traffic include making ‘bulb-outs’.
“You narrow the sidewalk crossing by bringing the sidewalk out closer. As you’re approaching that, what you seem to see is a much narrower street. On automatic reflex, you slow down to approach that,” O’Donnell said. “It costs a significant amount of money, but it’s one of the ways.”
Committee cautioned against using painted curbs and crosswalks that are often covered by snow and slush through the winter months. Instead, more expensive vertical signage would be preferred.
A report to committee also showed the administration is also in favour of an RPS annual safety mascot-type program to educate the youngest and most vulnerable school children.
The issue will be forwarded to public works for more talks in the spring, but the audit alone would take six months.
The city still hopes to make the changes in time for the start of the 2019/2020 school year.