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County changes school zone to playground zone

The playground zones on Springbank Road and Range Road 33 will soon become school zones. After a short discussion, council voted in favour of changing the zones in an 8-1 vote during the Operations and Infrastructure meeting, Nov. 20.

The playground zones on Springbank Road and Range Road 33 will soon become school zones.

After a short discussion, council voted in favour of changing the zones in an 8-1 vote during the Operations and Infrastructure meeting, Nov. 20.

Stuart Jewison, the County’s operations manager, presented results from 73 Rocky View residents who responded to the online survey between Oct. 18 and 31 of this year. The numbers showed 78 per cent of respondents were in favour of the switch, 11 per cent were opposed and 11 per cent had other suggestions.

The survey was launched after staff received phone calls from the public who wanted to see the zone changed. People felt the 30 km/h zone was unnecessary because a playground zone, unlike a school zone, extends into the summer months when not nearly as many people are using the facilities in the area.

As a playground zone, the speed limits were 30 km/h every day of the year from 8:30 a.m. until one hour after sunset.

The limit will be reduced to 30 km/h from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays to Fridays during school days from September to June. Range Road 33 is a four-lane paved road with a speed limit of 70 km/h north of the 30 km/h zone and 80 km/h to the south.

The Springbank Community High School and Springbank Park for All Seasons are located nearby to the east of Range Road 33 and north of Springbank Road. Springbank Road is a two-lane paved road with a speed limit of 80 km/h east and west of the 30 km/h zone.

The staff report included comments from people in favour of the zone change who supported the rationale that students don’t often use the playing fields outside of school hours and if they do, they’re typically driven there and the area is fenced.

“I appreciate the survey you did,” said Councillor Kim Magnuson to Jewison. “People have been asking (for this) for a long time,” she added.

Councillor Margaret Bahcheli asked if the change would work, noting the 70 km/h speed limit outside of the 30 km/h zone is high. She said it’s a dangerous area for people pulling into the school and for kids crossing the street with all of their equipment and worried the speed limit was too high. Jewison said there is an option to reduce the posted speed in the area but noted it wasn’t part of the survey conducted.

“I think there’s good visibility there,” said councillor Lois Habberfield, adding it’s easy to see oncoming traffic from the driveway of the school parking lot.

Habberfield said reducing the speed could result in traffic backing up and make it harder to turn out onto the road.

“I think, let’s try it out, see how it goes,” she said.

Byron Riemann, general manager of the County’s infrastructure and operations department, said adding lines on the road to indicate turn-off points into the parking lot and increasing signage to alert people they are approaching a school zone could draw motorists’ attention to the speed limit change.

“Byron’s suggestion of repainting and lining probably would be a good thing,” said Deputy Reeve Paul McLean, who added it would provide clarity for drivers.

Council voted unanimously to change the speed limit and McLean suggested staff proceed with lining the road if necessary.