As students across the province head back to school this week, the City of Edmonton is reminding drivers to slow down in school zones.
A speed limit of 30 km/h is in place in playground zones around all of Edmonton’s elementary and junior high schools. The speed limit is in effect every day from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“Thirty km/h is the safest speed in playground zones,” said Jessica Lamarre, director of traffic safety.
“It allows drivers to stop quickly when the unexpected happens, and increases the likelihood that everyone will escape serious injury or fatality.”
Those dropping off and picking up kids at school are also asked to be mindful of how they’re parking. Illegal parking can block the view of pedestrians and other drivers, “turning school zones into danger zones for children,” coordinator of parking enforcement services Troy Courtoreille said in a media release Monday morning.
According to the City of Edmonton, since playground zones were first implemented in 2017, collisions in school zones have decreased by 13 per cent, injuries and fatalities have decreased by 42 per cent and injuries to vulnerable road users have decreased by 71 per cent.
Crosswalks, lights and other safety features have also been implemented throughout the city to make it safer for students to get to and from school. In 2019, 26 schools were upgraded. This year, 28 rapid flashing beacons have been installed at Edmonton schools.
“Be alert for children walking or biking in your neighbourhood,” Lamarre said.
“Plan extra time when you are dropping off and picking your children up from school, as rushing can lead to tragedy. Know your school’s procedures for pickup and drop-off, park responsibly and watch for the 30 km/h posted signs in playground zones.”
This is the first time kids are heading back to school since the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools across the country in March.
While many students have opted to stay home for online learning, the majority of students in the Edmonton area will head back to schools for in-classroom learning.
According to the Edmonton Public School Board, about 70.4 per cent of its students will head back into class for in-person learning, while the remaining nearly 30 per cent have opted for online learning.
According to Edmonton Catholic Schools, about 90 per cent of parents responded to its Friday deadline to choose between in-classroom or online learning and of those, 75 per cent of students have opted for in-classroom learning, with the remaining 25 per cent choosing online learning this term.