Wednesday, November 25, 2009

When A School Zone Becomes A School Area

Apparently, since the city did the upgrades to 116th Ave (just north of Crystal Park School) there's been some confusion in the public. Residents have been calling the city with reports of people speeding through the school zone but the thing is; there's no longer a "School Zone" there.

In addition to twinning the street the city also added a proper sidewalk along the south side of the street, fencing along the school property and a new pedestrian controlled crosswalk at the 92nd street intersection at the entrance to the Crystal Lake neighbourhood. (you could say we've finally made it into a "Complete Street")

With these improvements the School Zone and it's 30km/h speed limit was no longer warranted. So now it's designated as a "School Area" and has a 50km/h speed limit. Personally I still think it's a good idea to slow down a bit and make sure you're paying extra attention (why wouldn't you?).

More details in the city media release below:

Media Release
November 24, 2009
Crystal Park School Roadway Rezoned

Recent improvements to 116 Avenue have resulted in speed limit changes near Crystal Park School.

The section of road, adjacent to Crystal Park School is now considered a School Area, rather then a School Zone. Therefore, the speed limit of 30 km/h no longer applies.

School Areas and School Zones are determined by national guidelines. The criteria for allowing a section of road to become a School Area instead of a School Zone include having good sidewalk links, crosswalks, fencing in place, controlled access points and schools being set back from the road.

“The decision to move to a School Area was made in conjunction with the Grande Prairie Public School District,” says Colin Farynowski, Transportation Engineering Supervisor. “The safety of children was of prime consideration. This was addressed with the roadway enhancements and associated improvements.”

The pedestrian activated crossings at 92 and 96 Streets on 116 Avenue, separate sidewalks on both sides of the street, and fencing along the entire length of the school have reduced the need for school speed restrictions.

116 Avenue was twinned earlier this year prompting the improvements to the area surrounding Crystal Park School.

Kateri Drive, near Derek Taylor Public School, is also signed as a School Area. The Lions Learning Centre on Prairie Road is another example of a School Area in Grande Prairie.

Media enquiries may be directed to:
Colin Farynowski
Transportation Engineering Supervisor

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