Winnipeg looks at new speed limits for school zones

Starting this September there will be new speed limits from morning until late afternoon, Monday to Friday .

30 km/hr speed limits would be in effect 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m, Mon - Fri.

Starting this September there will be new speed limits from morning until late afternoon, Monday to Friday. 1:48

By September, drivers might have to slow down near 171 schools in Winnipeg.

The proposed bylaw would set a speed limit of 30 km/h from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday from September to June.

The city said Friday the new speed limit school zones would apply to any street that borders an elementary school up to grade six, is not a regional street and can comply with signage rules set out in provincial regulation. 

The infrastructure, renewal and public works committee will consider the report containing the new bylaw next Tuesday, June 3. 

If city council approves a bylaw under consideration by the infrastructure committee, new speed limits of 30 km/hr from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday near 171 schools could be in effect for the coming school year. (CBC)
Speed limits near approximately 65 schools, however, won't change, at least not for now. 

Public Works manager Brad Sacher said speed zones must comply with provincial regulations and some schools are not able to meet the criteria.

"One of the issues is the requirement to have advanced signing before the school zone starts," he said. "So if one of the streets that is adjacent to the school, for instance, comes to a 'T' intersection, there is no room to put advanced signing a hundred metres before the start of the intersection."

Sacher said the City of Winnipeg and many other Manitoba municipalities are working with the province on reduced speed school zones.

He said the goal is for every school that qualifies to get a lower speed limit at some point.

'Cars slam on their brakes lots around here'

Parents outside Mulvey School on Wolseley Avenue, where the speed limit is 50 km/h, said they'd welcome the lower limits.

Crystal Salkeld, who was picking up two of her children, agreed. 

"Cars slam on their brakes lots around here," she said. 

Bryan Chief, who has a child at the school, knows the issue well. He is also a volunteer with the school's crossing guards. 

"The traffic at 3:15 to 3:30 is just unbelievable," he said. 

Chief said he hopes lower speed limits make the area safer, but he is skeptical they will work on all drivers.

"Driver habits," he explained. "Once you're accustomed to driving a certain way, it's hard for people to change."

Salkeld she she nevertheless hopes the bylaw passes.

"It seems like a no-brainer thing for cars to drive slow no matter what around a school because there are kids," she said. "But to have a number posted somewhere would be really helpful."

If approved by council, the city said signage for the proposed bylaw will be in place for the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

The committee votes on the recommendations Tuesday. If it's approved, it goes next to Executive Policy Committee.

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