Most school zones and all hybrid zones in Sylvan Lake will soon be changed to playground zones, after a recent decision by Council.
The amended Traffic Bylaw which was discussed at the regular meeting of council on July 8, will see Sylvan Lake following the same model Red Deer has in place for school and playground zones.
While the amendment updates some “grammatical, formatting and wording,” it also specifically addresses the proposed change to the hours both playground and school zones are in effect.
“The intent of the proposed Bylaw is to provide motorists and pedestrians with consistent and predictable hours that these zones are in effect, which should result in less confusion and thereby improving the safety of pedestrians,” said John Watson, operations manager.
The speed limit in these zones will not change, staying constant at 30 kilometres per hour. What will change is the hours the zones will be in effect.
School zones in Sylvan Lake will no long have a fractured enforcement time. Instead, school zones will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on school days.
Playground zones will be in effect between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. every day.
According to the amended bylaw, and school yard with a playground apparatus will become a playground zone. Currently these are considered to be either just a school zone or a hybrid zone.
With the amendment to the traffic bylaw, all hybrid zones will be removed in favour of a school or playground zone.
“By using the Red Deer model for changes to these zones, Sylvan Lake motorists have, or likely will develop a geographical familiarity with the rules in school and playground zones on a regional basis,” said Watson.
The schools on 50 Street, H.J. Cody and Lighthouse Christian Academy, will continue as a school zone. The playground zone on 50 Street will also continue as a playground zone with the amended bylaw.
The remaining schools in Sylvan Lake will be made into a playground zone.
“All future schools constructed in Sylvan Lake would be evaluated for the appropriate type of zone based upon the criteria of whether a playground structure is included within the schoolyard, and other criteria based upon industry standards,” the report to Council states.
The principal at Ecole Mother Teresa School “fully supports” the changes proposed, according to Watson.
Watson says new signage will be put into place before the new school year begins on Sept. 3.
A public hearing on the proposed changes to the bylaw is planned for the next meeting of council on July 22. Following the public hearing, Council is expected to give second and third reading to the bylaw.