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Low speeds to up safety

Although city hall is talking about restricting its adult crossing guard program next year because it can’t find enough people willing to serve as crossing guards, there’s a positive change on the horizon in 2014 when it comes to the safety of children going to and from schools. That’s the budget decision made by council last week to pay for what is needed to reduce speed limits near all of Guelph’s elementary schools.
It was a decision that united council in a unanimous vote of approval for the $140,000 that had to be added to the city’s 2014 operating budget to pay for it. Coun. Gloria Kovach said she’d been trying for nine years to get something like this done.
The $140,000 was added to $70,000 already earmarked in the budget for the school speed zones, for a total cost of $210,000. This includes $20,000 to be spent on a public education campaign that will accompany the speed-zone initiative, to try to get drivers to buy into the need for the change. Police enforcement will also be required.
On Sept. 30, council passed a motion calling for 30 km/h speed limits in front of elementary schools located on two-lane roads, and 40 km/h speed limits in front of elementary schools on four-lane roads. Council wanted   the reduced speed limits to be in effect only at times when children are walking to and from school.
However, the bill for buying technology required for time-of-day speed zones at all schools would have been $787,000, city staff calculated. So staff proposed a compromise – namely, time-of-day speed restrictions for schools located on arterial roads, and lower speed limits posted around the clock near schools located on other, less busy sorts of roads. And that’s the plan that council got behind on budget night last Thursday.
Like its decision to make the affordable bus pass – half-price bus passes for low-income people – a permanent program in 2014, council’s decision on school speed zones will make a ground-level difference in this city in 2014.

One Response to “Low speeds to up safety”

  1. Jeff Burke says:

    People ignore the speed limit at 50, what makes you think they won’t ignore them at 30 or 40?
    Honestly! A few very nasty fines will create revenue, not sending money out the door. There are laws against speeding now, enforce them.

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