Calgary

Calgary tests no speed-limit playground zones

Speed limits will be lifted from 28 playground zones in Calgary as part of a pilot project to move traffic more efficiently.

Speed limits will be lifted from 28 playground zones in Calgary as part of a pilot project to move traffic more efficiently.

Under a measure passed by council on Wednesday, the familiar 30 km/h zones will be replaced by warning signs that simply advise drivers to be cautious with no requirement for them to slow down.

"A lot of other cities in Canada use that exact same sign, we're just applying that sign to our streets," explained Troy McLeod from the city's transportation department.

By not forcing people to slow down while passing playgrounds that may be empty, officials hope traffic will move more smoothly.

A section of Templegreen Drive Northeast, which has a playground, community centre and two schools, is one of the test areas where the speed limit will be removed.

Derek Jones, who lives right across the street, said the test is a terrible idea: "Not a good idea at all, you got kids and you got tons of traffic in here … so the last thing you want to do is increase the speed limit."

Ald. Ray Jones, who represents the area, would rather everyone just slow down.

"If I had my druthers I would like to see Calgary move to a 30 to 40 km/h speed limit throughout residential areas," he said.

A dozen other areas in new neighbourhoods will be set up with the warning signs, instead of as playground zones.

During the year-long pilot project, the 30 km/h speed limit, as well as the fines for breaking it, remains in effect between 8:30 a.m. to one hour after sunset in other playground zones.

Fines for speeding in a playground zone depend on the amount a driver is over the limit. Exceeding it by 15 km/h, for example, would result in an $89 fine and three demerit points, according to the city.

Passing is prohibited in playground zones and may result in a $172 fine.

City staff will report back to council with recommendations for the rest of the zones next February.