Public works committee OKs school-zone bylaw
By: Aldo Santin
A proposed bylaw to reduce vehicle speeds around some elementary schools is going to city council with the support of a civic committee.
Members of public works voted unanimously Tuesday in support of the new bylaw, which will lower speed limits around some kindergarten-to-Grade 6 schools to 30 kilometres per hour.
"This is a good first step," Coun. Jenny Gerbasi said.
Committee chairman Coun. Justin Swandel said he didn't think speed is a safety concern around Winnipeg schools but added the bylaw "is probably a good thing."
If approved by council later this month, the bylaw would come into effect for the start of the 2014-2015 school year, lowering speeds around specific elementary schools between the hours of 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m., from September to June.
The lower speeds would not apply to regional streets adjacent to schools.
The bylaw applies to 171 schools, leaving out about 50 schools because of requirements where signs must be placed.
Coun. Harvey Smith told the committee he thought the bylaw should be expanded to include parks.
However, public works directors Brad Sacher said the bylaw can't be expanded to include other areas without amendments to provincial legislation.
Council approved the principles supporting lowered speed limits around elementary schools in July 2012 and set aside $1 million for signage. However, before Winnipeg could implement the change, the city had to wait for the province to amend legislation -- which it did in September 2013 -- giving municipalities the authority to lower the speed limits around schools to 30 km/h.
Mayor Sam Katz had promised to have the bylaw in place before the end of 2013 but Sacher said writing the bylaw was a complex procedure that included identifying every school and street that will be affected.