Sikh Gurdwara

School Zone Speed Limits

In March 2014, Guelph City Council approved new reduced speed limit zones in front of elementary schools Guelph. This happened during the municipal election campaign and I was highly critical of council's decision at the time. Here is a reproduction of the blog that I posted on my campaign website in June of that year:

The City has implemented reduced speed limits in elementary school zones across Guelph. This approach includes 40 km/h speed limits on arterial roads, which is in effect on school days from 8-9 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. In addition, 30 km/h speed limits has been set on collector and local roads that are in effect at all times.

The image above is not a local one but rather is an example of logical and effective signage from Australia that Guelph council should have adopted for our collector roads. If arterial roads only need reduced speeds before and after school (and only during the months and days that school is actually in session!) to ensure the safety of our children – since those are the only times when hundreds are children are in one place – then clearly the same policy should also apply to collector roads. After all, who benefits from a 30 km/h limit during non-peak hours? Surely not the children playing near the school at 2 am!

This council decision is but one more example of why Ward 6 needs strong representation to take a rational and active interest in the structured management of traffic issues.

The City is Proposing a New Plan

In the past two years, my opinions on the matter has not changed. Enforcing reduced speeds in a school zone at all hours of the day makes little sense and has no impact on safety. I have interfaced with city staff on numerous occasions to determine when this traffic policy could be reviewed because it needs to change. They indicated a full review would be done throughout 2016 with a report coming to council for consideration in 2017.

I am very pleased that staff is recommending to council in May that the school speed zones be changed. Interestingly, through their independent study, staff appears to have come to a similar conclusion as my blog from two years ago: it only makes sense to limit speeds when school is actually in session.

Although their exact recommendations do not mirror mine – they want the speed limit reduced for the duration of the school day and suggest that a 40 km/h limit (not 30 km/h as it currently is) is reasonable for non-arterial roads – the essence is quite similar. Their proposal strikes a rational compromise between good traffic management and the safety of our children.

Staff would like to hear your comments. You can read the inital proposal and their evidence-based rational for their recommendation on the city website.