Winnipeg school zone speed limit vote passes

A Winnipeg city committee has voted in favour of lowering speed limits in front of elementary schools to 30 km/h.
A Winnipeg city committee voted Tuesday to lower speed limits in front of elementary schools to 30 km/h. 2:03

A Winnipeg city committee has voted in favour of lowering speed limits in front of elementary schools to 30 km/h.

The proposed bylaw, which would set the lower speed limit from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year, was approved by the city's infrastructure and public works committee on Tuesday.

"It's a very small baby step toward safe schools," said Coun. Jenny Gerbasi.

“It will be perceived to be a good thing," said Coun. Justin Swandel. "I think we can do something more to manage traffic around school zones."

Last week, city officials said the new speed limit would apply to any street that borders an elementary school, is not a regional street, and can comply with signage rules set out in provincial regulation.

But some in the city are wondering why speed limits couldn't be lowered outside all schools, including secondary schools.

This year, there have been at least two collisions involving students near Kelvin High School.

"Around any place with a school, there will be kids outside," said Keara Chisholm, a Kelvin student.

"I guess 17 to 18-year-olds aren't really kids but we're still, like, going to be outside and crossing the street, and kids could still get hit."

At the same time, Chisholm said students sometimes share the responsibility, as they should be paying attention when crossing the street.

"It goes both ways, so it's not just like the drivers fault but, like, people should be watching what they're doing, especially while crossing a road that's this busy and right when school gets let out," she said.

Winnipeg School Division trustee Mike Babinsky raised the issue of safety outside Kelvin High School during a board meeting on Monday evening.

Regina has lower speed limits year-round

In Regina, speed limits have been lower at school zones for years.

But unlike Winnipeg's proposal, school zones in Regina are set at 40 km/h from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week and year-round, not just during the academic year, saidRaviSeera, the City of Regina's manager of traffic.

"We don't want to create confusion like, 'OK, on Monday to Friday during school days it's [a] reduced speed zone, and after school days it's not,'" he said Tuesday.

Seera said in school zones along major routes, amber flashing lights warn drivers to slow down.

"We work with the schools to come up with the school hours, and at the beginning of the year we get their calendar and we time our amber flashers to match those times," he said.

Winnipeg's proposed bylaw now goes on to be reviewed by council's executive policy committee.


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