Slowing Down Around Playgrounds

The Importance of Playground Zones for the Safety of Children

There has been a lot of conversation lately about playground zones and the guidelines and rules around implementing playground zones. I wanted to take this opportunity to revisit why I have always supported playground zones and their importance for the safety of children.

The lower speed limit in playground zones (30km/h):

  • Increases livability of neighbourhoods;
  • Moves us towards Vision Zero, the City’s goal of zero traffic related fatalities and serious injuries; and
  • Protect vulnerable road users: children.

Since the implementation of playground zones has only recently been completed here in Edmonton, we can look to the City of Calgary for the impacts of implementing playground zones and changing school zones to playground zones. In 2017, the City of Calgary worked with the University of Calgary to conduct a before-and-after study to determine the impacts of combining school and playground zone signs and the times they are in effect. The results of the study indicate:

  • The average speed decreased from 36 km/h to 30 km/h.
  • The number of collisions involving pedestrians within school and playground zones decreased by 33 percent, with a 70 percent decrease between 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • More than 80 percent of the respondents found it easier to remember the zone times with a single zone type that is consistent throughout the year.

To recap, playground zones lowered speeds, and lowered collisions, especially outside of regular school zone hours. This increased safety is the goal of playground zones and something I fully support.

So when you see the signs reminding you to slow to 30 km/hr from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year, please remember why it’s important to slow down.