These are the most frequently asked questions around lower speed limits for school zones and playground zones. Find out why 30km/h will improve safety around areas where children learn and play.

Why don't school buses use stop arms and flashers in Edmonton?

City Bylaw 5590 does not allow school buses to use stop arms and flasher in Edmonton. It states:

A person operating a school bus shall not activate alternately flashing lights or the stop arm on a highway unless the highway is one designated as permitting this activity.

“Highway” means any thoroughfare, street, road, trail, avenue, parkway, viaduct, lane, alley, square, bridge, causeway, trestleway or other place, whether publicly or privately owned, any part of which the public is ordinarily entitled or permitted to use for the passage or parking of vehicles.

How many collisions are occurring at playgrounds?

In the last five years, 65 injury collisions involving children aged 15 or younger have occurred in areas that would be covered by the Playground Zones; 20% of these injuries resulted in the need for the children to be hospitalized.

How many kids are using the playground at 9pm?

In the last five years, 4 of the injury collisions in playground areas involving pedestrians 15 years and younger occurred between the hours of 8 and 9pm. This suggests that there are children who are using the playgrounds during the later hours.

How many kids are using the playground in the winter?

In the last five years, 17% of the injury collisions in playground areas involving pedestrians 15 years and younger occurred in the months of November, December and January. This suggests that there are children who are using the playgrounds during the winter months.

Why 30 kilometres per hour?
Under ideal conditions, vehicles travelling at 50 km/h require 24-28 meters to stop. Add another 10 meters when roads are wet or icy. Vehicles travelling 30 km/h need only 11-13 meters in ideal conditions (and another 5 meters in poor conditions). By slowing down, motorists have better opportunity to react when children are crossing the road, and students stand a better chance of surviving a pedestrian/vehicle collision.
What times and days are playground zones in effect?

The speed limit in playground zones is 30 km/h between 7:30am-9pm every day.

Why did school zones become playground zones?

Extending the hours of 30km/h zones around schools protects children attending after-hour activities. In addition, having consistent start and end times for 30 km/h zones reduces driver confusion around what days and which hours reduced speed limits are in effect.

How many playground zones are there?

393. This includes 152 stand-alone playgrounds and 241 playgrounds adjacent to schools.

Changes to Playground Zones
At the December 11, 2018, City Council meeting, Council approved the modifications of 26 of the original 407 playground zones. This included:

  • Total removal of 12 playground zones
  • Removal of 30 km/h speed limits on some roads surrounding playground zones
  • Shortening or extending some playground zones

All proposed changes were completed by mid-January, 2019.

Playground Zone Modification List, December 11, 2018

At the February 5, 2019, City Council meeting, Council approved removal of two playground zones:

  • Mill Woods Road NW from 85 Street to 91 Street (Millwoods Christian School)
  • 95 Avenue NW from 165 Street and 167 Street (Westlawn School)
Will playground zones be on major arterial roads?

Playground zones are installed only on residential and collector roads, not arterial roads.

Are playground zones in place at all Edmonton schools?

Playground zones are in place around most schools with elementary and junior high school grades.

I saw a school on a main road with no playground zone signs. Why is that?

Playground zones are installed at schools on residential and collector roads, not arterial roads.

Can an area without playground equipment be designated as a playground zone?

Any area where children frequent can be marked as a playground for the safety of the children, even if there is no playground equipment.

Why weren’t playground zones installed around all schools in Edmonton?

Young children are at the greatest risk for pedestrian-related injury and death. They lack the cognitive ability to judge speeds and safe situations. By installing playground zones around elementary and junior high schools, we are able to protect the most vulnerable road users in Edmonton.

How far does the playground zone extend?

Motorists are required to slow down to 30 km/h from the start of the zone and stay at that rate of speed until after they have passed the sign which indicates the end of the 30 km/h zone.

Are 30 km/h speed limits enforced?

Yes. Unfortunately, some drivers only obey the speed limit when there is the threat of enforcement. The Edmonton Police Service, along with the City’s Traffic Safety section, use a combination of manned and automated enforcement in 30 km/h zones.

What is the process for using automated enforcement in playground zones?
  • Playground zone signs are posted
  • Then sites are assessed for possible enforcement
  • Edmonton Police Service (EPS) reviews and approves the sites
  • Sites are monitored (for up to a month) for compliance to the speed limit to determine if enforcement is required
  • Automated enforcement begins

Note that EPS can enforce the 30 km/h speed limit from the moment the playground zone signs are posted.