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Saskatoon council OK’s changes on school, playground zones

After a lengthy debate, Council approved the year-round measure
Speed limits are again in place in school zones starting Sept. 1.

SASKATOON — Saskatoon City Council passed the changes they made on the policy of school and playground zones, after almost two hours of deliberation during their Monday meeting.

The 30-kilometres per hour speed limit in school and playground zones will be in effect for the whole year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, starting in 2022.

The Council debated on the issue of the time that would replace the existing 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. school hours. Some of the proposals were from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

It took several votes before the Council agreed on the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. hours of operations, as recommended by Ward 2 Councillor Hillary Gough, with the ayes beating the nays, 6-5.

Mayor Charlie Clark, who voted in favour of the new 7-to-7 operating time, thanked the Council for their work to identify the right time that will be implemented. “All of this are difficult decisions given the circumstances.”

“When it comes to establishing these speed zone times, given that there’s no consistency around the country as we’ve seen and there is no clarity with the Transportation Association of Canada guidelines, it does come down to our City administration and Council in identifying what is best for our community.”

He added that addressing safety is the top concern while also pointing out that high school zones will no longer have speed limits in place.

“One thing that is really important to note here is that we are now going to have much fewer speed zones.

“School zones on arterial streets as a result of the reduction of the high schools and this will be speed limit state school zones that will only be around elementary schools, the vast majority which are not on the busier streets.”

Ward 8 Sarna Gersher said 7 to 7 is also her preference and is a good compromise for what she heard from everyone.

Ward 3 Councillor David Kirton said the recommended operational hours were the same where activity takes place in schools, including the Boys and Girls Clubs’ before and after school programs.

Senior zones will also be implemented that would increase pedestrian crossing devices and other measures to keep the elderly safe in specific areas.