On July 22, 2014 City Council approved changes to school and playground zone timing in Calgary and allocated funds to convert all school zones to playground zones.
By transitioning school zones to consistent playground zones, there will no longer be any question as to when motorists are required to slow down. Playground zones are in effect every day, year-round whereas school zones were only in effect on school days.
Why did we change from school zones to playground zones?
Designated playground zones are an important part of keeping children safe. Before the conversion, there were approximately 1,500 playground zones and 180 school zones in Calgary. Both of these zones were created to increase the safety of children from motorists traveling through these areas. With Provincial government legislation in place to allow municipalities to set their own school and playground hours, it was determined that transitioning school zones to playground zones was the appropriate solution.
Having two different designated zones was confusing to motorists who may not be aware of when school is in session. Having only playground zones helps to provide a clear message to motorists, promote uniform motorist behaviour, and increase safety for pedestrians and motorists.
Why were the playground zones times changed in 2014?
The City consulted with the Calgary Police Service, the Alberta Motor Association, Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Catholic School District and other municipalities in Alberta about the possibility of having the same school and playground zone hours. All groups were supportive of changing the hours to one consistent zone.
They felt the ‘one hour after sunset’ end time for playground zones was not effective. Depending on the time of year, the end times could be as early as 5:30 p.m. in winter, and as late as 11 p.m. in summer. The unspecified end time made it difficult for motorists to follow the rules.
The new hours (7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.) reflect the times that playground zones are being used by children and other pedestrians, and provide motorists with consistent and specific times that can be easily remembered.
Is the 9 p.m. end time too late?
No. Approximately 20 per cent of pedestrian collisions in playground zones occur between 6 and 9 p.m. School may be out at 3:30 p.m. but school gyms, classrooms, and other facilities are often used in the evenings for community sports and extracurricular activities. Also, as days get shorter, it becomes increasingly difficult for motorists to see pedestrians, particularly in the evenings. Slowing down to 30 km/h in playground zones helps everyone stay safe.
I would like a Playground Zone in my area, how can I get one?
It is possible to request a playground zone sign for spaces with City-approved playground equipment. To request a playground zone sign in your area, please use the online service request below.
eServices - Request a Playground Zone sign