Playground, school zone speed limits should be harmonized

By: Wheel Staff

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014 12:08 pm

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Speed limits in playgrounds and school zones should be reviewed and harmonized, but Okotoks town councillors donít need to take the backseat to Calgary on this issue.

Town council has spent a lot of time in recent months debating whether to change speed limits near parks and schools in Okotoks.

They have been waiting to see what direction their counterpart in the city take before making any decision here in Okotoks.

Last week, Calgaryís playground and school zones are now from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., stretching school zones from an end time of 5 p.m. and eliminating the one-hour after sunset rule.

This is setting the stage for when the issue comes back to town council for a decision, likely later this month.

In a commuter community like Okotoks it may make sense to harmonize speed limits for school and playground zones with the city. However, the Town hasnít taken the cityís lead in other areas, why this one?

Besides, so far councillors havenít been able to agree on an end time, with some saying 9 p.m. is too late in the winter and too early in the summer.

Town council should harmonize rules for school and playground zones.

School zone speed limits arenít in affect over the summer months. Yet, many schools have playgrounds that attract young people year round. As well, there can still be students at schools after the 5 p.m. during the school year.

The question is what time lower speed limits should start and stop?

The current rules that see playground zones remain in affect until one hour after sunset is confusing and should change. It can be confusing for drivers and council would be better to set one clear time as late as 10 p.m.

It will establish a clear, predictable standard for drivers year round.

It will ensure the lower speed limit remains in place during the summer months when families and children are outdoors late into the evening. As for the winter months. The school bell may ring hours before, but there still activities at schools well into the evening.

It may even set a standard for other towns and cities to follow as they look at their own school zones.


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