Making city streets safer.
Harmonizing of school and playground zones
The City of Lethbridge is partnering with Slow Your Roll and the YMCA of Lethbridge to promote upcoming changes aimed at creating safe and consistent speed zones across the community.
The harmonization of school and playground zones will convert all zones to year-round playground zones with a 30 km/hour maximum speed limit from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Residents can expect new signs to be installed in the coming weeks with the new zones officially taking effect on September 5, 2023.
“As we roll out our new playground zones, we are excited to have the support of community groups and families that share our goal of community safety,” says Ahmed Ali, Transportation Engineer for the City of Lethbridge. “Research shows us that slower speeds make roads safer and that is especially important in areas where children are playing.”
No one understands the importance of creating safer streets more than the McIntyre family who lost their 10-year-old son Charles in a fatal vehicle/pedestrian accident in 2020.
“This is not about slowing down to avoid a ticket, these changes are to ensure drivers slow down and be more mindful, more vigilant to the people around them in high pedestrian areas, especially with children,” says Charles’ mother, Heather McIntye. “This could save a life, this could save another family from going through what we have to go through every day. Slow down, look twice, and save a life!”
Like many other cities across Alberta, this change is being introduced to make it easier for drivers to remember the times, days and speed limits which increases compliance and more importantly, reduce serious collisions.
“Slow your roll has set out to make a shift in our awareness while driving and we've aimed to make our neighborhoods safer since the launch of our Slow Your Roll Signs across Lethbridge three years ago,” says Chris Dipasquale, Founder of the Slow Your Roll campaign. “We support the City's decision and believe it's a step in the right direction. We will continue to make Lethbridge a safer place for our kids with our campaign as well as the community’s help.”
A City of Calgary/University of Calgary study has proven the benefits of harmonized playground and school zones showing a 33 per cent reduction in pedestrian collisions overall and a staggering 70 per cent reduction between the hours of 5:30 and 9 p.m.
“The Lethbridge YMCA is dedicated to building healthy communities and safety is key to that,” says YMCA of Lethbridge CEO, Jennifer Petracek-Kolb. “Charles and his family are part of the Lethbridge YMCA family. Partnering with Slow Your Roll and the City of Lethbridge to raise awareness and promote positive change is an important way in which we can honour his memory and support his family.”
The City of Lethbridge Transportation Safety Plan, completed in 2021, included the recommendation of harmonizing school and playground zones to work towards the goal of zero transportation related deaths and serious injury by 2040.
This change is supported by Lethbridge Police Service and the local school boards. City Council approved the harmonization of school and playground zones on May 16, 2023 and gave final approval to the bylaw change at this week’s City Council meeting.
Prior to the Council decision, the City conduced extensive community engagement with over 2,000 residents providing feedback. For more information on this project, past engagement, FAQs, timelines and playground zone maps visit: https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/harmonizedplaygroundzones.