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Speed Limit - School & Playground Zones

 Speed limit changes

Speed limit changes for schools and playgrounds in effect September 1, 2022

New signs and updates to existing signs will be installed throughout June to August to reflect these changes:

  1. New playground zones with reduced speed limits of 30 km/h;
  2. Year-round reduced speed limits in both school and playground zones 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  3. Adjustments to posted signs and length of current school zones; and
  4. Removal of reduced speed from high schools, where u-turns are still restricted. 

Drivers are encouraged to follow the new posted signs as they are installed in School Zones and Playground Zones; however, they won't be enforced until September 1 when the updated bylaw goes into effect.

The City is being proactive in providing the highest level of safety for young children at highest risk locations within neighbourhoods. Children of elementary school age, when without parental supervision, are typically considered to be the most vulnerable due to their limited abilities to understand and anticipate vehicular traffic movements and their tendency to accidentally enter the roadway. A reduced speed limit where children play gives the driver more time to react, allows the driver to see more (field of vision) and gives the driver a chance to come to a complete stop sooner.

School Zones 

  • All School Zones will be in effect year-round, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 7 days a week, (current are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday from September to June).
  • Some School Zone lengths will be adjusted and school zones will have new School Zone Ends signs .
  • U-turns are still restricted for all schools.
  • Children of elementary school age, when without parental supervision, are typically considered to be the most vulnerable due to their limited abilities to understand and anticipate vehicular traffic movements and their tendency to accidentally enter the roadway.
School Zone Signs

High Schools

  • Where school zone signs do not include a posted speed limit, treat the sign as a caution and pay close attention.
  • U-turns are still restricted for all schools.  
  • Children of middle age and high school age are typically able to understand traffic and to control their own movements, as noted in the Transportation Association of Canada guidelines. 
School Area Sign

Playground Zones

  • New Playground Zones will have a speed limit of 30 km/hr in effect year-round from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 7 days a week.
  • This will be communicated with a sign at the beginning and end of the reduced speed zone (see right).
  • Playground zones will be created for park spaces that have play equipment or programmed sports fields intended for children 14 and under. 
  • A lower speed limit where children play gives the driver more time to react, allows the driver to see more (field of vision) and gives the driver a chance to come to a complete stop sooner. 
Playground Zone Signs
  • Where playground signs do not include a posted speed limit, treat the sign as a caution and pay close attention.
  • This may occur at playgrounds and fields intended for children older than 14 years, or streets where play equipment is physically separated from traffic.
School area sign
What is the difference between a Zone and an Area?
  Zones (30 km/h sign posted) Areas (no speed posted)
Schools and playgrounds For children 14 and under For children older than 14
Reduced speed to 30 km/h Yes No
Reduced hours in effect Year-round, 7 days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Not applicable
No u-turns At elementary schools At high schools

Why are School Zones changing?

Vehicle speed and pedestrian safety have been the top concerns of residents who participated in 77 Neighbourhood Traffic Reviews in 2013 through to 2021, and many people felt pedestrian and vulnerable people, such as children, were at risk of injury. Following a city-wide speed limit review in 2021, City Council approved changes to extend School Zones to year-round with longer hours and implement playground zones. Learn more about the 2021 Speed Limit Review public engagement process.

How does reducing the speed limit make a difference?

Slowing from 50 km/h to 30 km/h gives the driver more time to react, allows the driver to see more (field of vision) and gives the driver a chance to come to a complete stop faster. Children are more vulnerable to severe injury in a crash than adults, so should a crash occur, it is less likely that it would have severe consequences at a reduced speed.

Where is the collision data to support more reduced speed limits?

A background information report with the collision history details is included in Appendix 1 of this Information Report from June 2021 (PDF). There are collisions in school zones; however, the data has not been aggregated to find the number of collisions in each school zone. During extensive public engagement through city-wide neighbourhood traffic reviews, residents shared examples of collision close calls with pedestrians and vehicles. Slower speeds can prevent the collision from occurring and are shown to reduce the severity of collisions as slower speeds reduce stopping sight distance, promote visibility, increase awareness of potential conflicts, and results in an improved survival rate.