30 km/h Playground Zones


(image source)

[UPDATE] We are thrilled to announce that Edmonton City Council voted unanimously to approve the new playground speed limits on September 13, 2017!

Council has been discussing introducing a 30 km/h into the city’s playground zones. We are strongly in favour of such a move (and eventually a move to 30 km/h for all local roads). Paths for People volunteer Edmond Chui wrote us up this great backgrounder:


With 85% support for lower speed limits for Playground Zones in a city-wide survey, a motion was passed on June 8 for Administration to propose implementation options. There was at least one speaker at the meeting, supporting implementation of Playground Zone as soon as possible (without waiting for blanket default speed limit).

Previous Council/Committee Action

At the June 8, 2017, Community and Public Services Committee meeting, the following motion was passed:

That Administration develop an implementation and funding plan for the installation of
playground zones with reduced speed limits for completion by the end of 2017, which includes the following components:

  1. A definition of playgrounds and parameters of what would be included in this
    program including a process for community input suggesting play areas.
  2. Hours of operation of playground zones.
  3. Operating practice for integration with existing school zones.
  4. Communications plan.
  5. Identification of legislative and enforcement components and accompanying
    plans to address required changes.
  6. Cost estimates for installation and operation including capital production
    costs, enforcement and communications.
  7. Funding options for installation and operations.

Administration’s proposal

On September 7, the report came back to Community & Public Services Committee. Administration proposes:

  • Implementation of Playground Zone by the end of 2017
  • 30 km/h speed limit, from 7:30 AM– 9 PM, all year round including weekends
  • Conversion/extension of all School Zones to Playground Zones
    • the new hours of Playground Zones will apply
    • Calgary tried sunset for Playground Zones, and separate hours for School Zones. They eventually converted all School Zones to Playground Zones with set hours to avoid drivers confusion, and inconsistent summer and winter hours
  • New Playground Zones (standalone, extension from School Zones, etc)
  • All installation and operation costs can be funded within existing budget

Councillors’ response

No decision was made on September 7. Vote is deferred to full council on Sep 12/13 (Tue/Wed).

Bev Esslinger

  • Seems supportive
  • Shared story of witnessing a kid running into traffic

Scott McKeen

Dave Loken

Ben Henderson

Ed Gibbons – Ward 4

Moe Banga – Ward 12


  • Paths for People would like to ensure the position on Playground Zone complements the efforts for the 30 km/h city-wide local roads speed limit push. We would like to see a city-wide local streets speed limit of 30 km/h 24/7; however, 30 km/h Playground Zones is a good step towards that goal.
  • Street/Road design is the ultimate tool in making our streets safer. However, speed limits are a good tool.
  • NATCO shows that at speeds higher than 30 km/h is where people start getting seriously injured and killed.
    • thirtykm
    • 50% of kids get hurt before 9 AM and after 4 PM
    • Healthy and livable cities around the world have kids walking and cycling to schools, soccer fields, and friends’ houses without the fear of getting hurt or dying in traffic. A street with safe speed limits enables mobility freedom for children, and relieves the burden on parents who are compelled to give their kids rides multiple times a day
    • Human make mistakes, especially young children, who are in their development and/or rebellious stages of their lives
    • Kids need 26 judgement skills, and have physical and mental disadvantage
    • “Research has shown that children are a more vulnerable road-user group than adults, as they perceive traffic very differently. According to the Canadian Institute of Child Health, there are approximately 26 judgement skills required to cross a street safely, yet children are challenged in a number of ways. For instance, they
      • have difficulty judging the speed and distance of cars
      • believe if they can see a car, the driver can see them
      • assume a car can stop instantly
      • have a limited peripheral vision
      • have a limited sense of danger.
    • Children are also shorter in stature, and their field of vision is often obstructed by parked cars.”


  • School Zones/Playground Zones may include collector roads, while a 30 km/h city-wide local roads speed limit, depending on implementation, would not
  • Edmonton is the first major Canadian city to adopt Vision Zero
    • Calgary has Playground Zones for years
    • Toronto, Vancouver, and European cities have widespread adoptions of 30 km/h
    • Edmonton is playing catch up, as the 1st “Vision Zero City” (note: embarrassing!)
  • Lower speed limits in Playground Zones received 85% support in a city-wide consultation

Some Media Mentions

Edmonton Journal

CBC News Edmonton

Global News Edmonton

CTV News Edmonton

Metro Edmonton

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