News / Edmonton

Edmonton puts the brakes on junior high school zone speed limits

Advocacy group pushes Edmonton to go further with reduction

Students cross the streets outside of Westminster Junior High.

Kevin Tuong/For Metro

Students cross the streets outside of Westminster Junior High.

Edmonton’s plans to reduce speed limits to 30 km/h around junior highs will hopefully make walking to school safer, says Grade 8 student Andrew Quy.

“A lot of kids skateboard or walk to school here, so I think having the lower speed limit will help,” he said Tuesday. 

City council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the new limits around junior high schools. The changes mean drivers will be ticketed if they zoom past the new limit, which, for the most part, had been 50 km/h. 

Some students, however, think the new speed limit might not actually deter drivers from zooming by.  

“I think it helps, but people still go as fast as they want,” said student Eva Erkovan. “But I think it’s always good to look before you cross.”

Coun. Bev Esslinger, who’s been spearheading projects to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in Edmonton, noted city data that shows reducing speeds in school zones helps people who bike or walk. 

“For every 10 kilometres you’re able to reduce, you also lower the amount of injury you have,” she said. “When you decrease speed it improves life for those who are vulnerable.”

Conrad Nobert, vice-chair for pedestrian advocacy group Paths for People, said Edmonton should even go further to see 30 km/h limits in all residential neighbourhoods. 

“That’s what feels safe and it protects vulnerable users like children and seniors,” he said. “There’s lots of activity around school and they deserve the safety that lower speed limits provide.”

Esslinger said the city’s next phase could include expanding the limit to high schools and playgrounds. 

“Playgrounds could be the natural next step, which is one I would consider,” she said. “There are lots of kids playing during the summer time and they’re not always paying attention when they’re running to a playground.”

A report is heading back to city council later this year to determine exactly what the next phase in implementing 30 km/h limits will be. By September, 30 km/h signs should be placed at all junior high zones across the city.

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