Council approves 4 new School Zones, reduced 30 km/hr speed limit at executive committee

City Council has approved a speed limit reduction of 30 km/hr to four more elementary school adjacent streets from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays from Sept. to June in an effort to improve student safety following a recommendation from the City’s Traffic and Transportation Manager, Evan Hastings.

“I’m happy to see this motion finally get finalized this evening,” said Councillor Tony Head during Monday’s Council meeting. “Reducing speed [has] definitely been echoed through my neighbourhood.”

Sixth Avenue West near St. Anne’s School, Fourth Street East beside Princess Margaret Public School, 15th Street West near Queen Mary Community School, and River Street East next to Riverside School will now be considered School Zones instead of School Areas, changing their set speed limit from 50 km/hr.

Coun. Ted Zurakowski said he’s hopeful that the changes will improve safety for all elementary students, but it will require compliance from motorists and enforcement.

“I think it’s a step forward,” said Zurakowski.

Hastings estimated that implementing the changes will cost the City $1,000, including all traffic signage, labor and equipment.

In June of 2022, the Prince Albert Board of Police Commissioners asked the City to review the posted speed limits within School Zones and Areas as they were concerned with potential vehicle-pedestrian accidents. This prompted a review by Hastings, where he looked at the national guidelines set by the Transportation Association of Canada and SGI Crash Statistics for 2012-2022. The review included consultations with the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division and the Prince Albert Catholic School Division, both of which agreed with the Board of Police Commissioner’s position.

Hasting’s study determined that three roadways warranted a reduction to 30 km/hr based on a combination of traffic safety national guidelines and community safety concerns. Queen Mary School was not identified as one of the locations in the study but because 15th Street West is a busy heavy haul route directly adjacent to the front entrance of the school, it was determined that a reduction to the speed limit was recommended.

Hastings presented his findings to members of Council during the Jan. 9 Executive Committee meeting, where the motion was passed unanimously.

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