Slow driving speeds will soon be in place for extended hours in Langley Township school zones.
In a Monday, July 11 meeting, councillors voted to extend the hours of school zone signage, where traffic calming measures are in place, up to potentially 24 hours a day on school days.
Right now, school zones speed limits in the Township run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A public delegation in April asked for changes to protect kids around schools, and Township staff came up with some changes, but provincial rules put some limits in place.
Starting next year, $100,000 annually will be budgeted to continue building more traffic calming measures – such as speed humps and curb extensions – on some roads near schools and playgrounds, and to convert existing school zone signs to let drivers know the 30 km/h limit is now in place 24 hours a day.
“We believe that it is quite important, in fact critical, for such measures to be effective, to be in conjunction with other measures such as physical barriers that actually reduce speed,” said Ramin Seifi, manager of engineering and community development.
At the suggestion of Councillor Kim Richter, the Township will also ask B.C. to amend the Provincial Motor Vehicle Act to drop the limitation that lower speed limits can only be enforced on school days.
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“Children use the playgrounds around the school when there is no school, on summer holidays and so on,” said Richter.
Not every road in front of a school has, or will have, a 30 km/h speed limit.
For example, 56th Avenue in front of Langley Secondary has long had a 50 km/h limit, as it’s a major through road. Other schools have physical barriers such as fencing to prevent children from getting close to the roads.
In a related matter, the council also voted in favour of a plan to bring in traffic calming measures on 216th Street in front of Topham Elementary School.
Parents in the area have been asking for traffic calming or lower speed limits in the area for years, as they were concerned that the creation of the 216th Street highway interchange and overpass would greatly increase the speed and amount of traffic on the road.
The Township already puts some money towards traffic calming every year. Many schools already have speed humps or curb extensions along their borders, which slows drivers down even when the 30 km/h limit isn’t being legally enforced.
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