Thursday, August 20, 2015

City to replace school zones with playground zones


Starting this week, The City of Calgary will be making all school zones into playground zones to help increase safety for children as they head back to school.

“By getting rid of school zones and setting straight forward and consistent playground zone hours, we will enhance safety for both pedestrians and motorists,” says Ravi Seera, Manager, Traffic.

School zones are only in effect on school days, whereas playground zones are in effect every day, year-round. With the introduction of year-round schools in Calgary in recent years, it became less clear to drivers when they needed to obey the signs.

“There will no longer be any question as to when you need to slow down. Playground zones are in effect every day year-round,” added Seera.

Last year, Council allocated $545,000 to transition school zones to playground zones in 2015 to benefit year-round extended hours.  Both school zones and playground zones currently are in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., so there will be no change in the time.

Calgary has approximately 180 school zones and 1,510 playground zones. Crews will out replacing the school zone signs throughout the fall and expect to have the work done by the end of October.

While designated playground zones are an important part of keeping children safe, safety on Calgary roads is a shared responsibility. Replacing school zones with playground zones is just one tool in a much larger plan to improve safety in areas where we see higher volumes of pedestrians.

For more information about this project, visit Calgary.ca/roads.

Thank you for helping us to keep Calgary safe!

65 comments:

  1. Unreal.......next we should have a mandatory speeding ticket on every month for each person who have a driving license.

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    1. You know there's a REALLY simple way to avoid those, right?
      - J

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    2. Just another cash grab from the city under the guise of "making things safe" or "making things more efficient". If their aim was to actually keep kids safer, they would have posted statistics and made references to specific incidents.

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    3. Wow really? cash grab? I think this is amazing, it will keep kids safe. Statistics don't change anything, people ignore stats. If you are mad about this then you need to reevaluate your priorities. Speeding home is not worth the risk of killing or injuring a child. Slow down and relax or you deserve the ticket.

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    4. It sounds like a cash grab but honestly most drivers in this city don't seem to know what a school zone vs a playground zone is. I find people slowing down for school zones when they don't need to, the only thing that makes no sense to me is are there going to be playground zones around Jr., Highs? they don't have playgrounds...

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  2. Nothing to do with safety, simply another cash grab from the good folks at the city.
    Enjoy your revenue generation.

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    1. Let me guess..... your one of those goofs that likes to speed through these zones? Think of the children's safety that their posted to protect rather then just a cash grab. The problem with the change is ... there still will be no enforcement to catch losers like you breaking the speed limit. If you don't speed.... you won't be contributing to the so called "cash grab". Think about it!

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    2. I thought that at first but they really do radar in these zone unless it's an easy catch, then it's just the camera with deters nothing. I thing this is the result of an inexperienced and reactionary council. The province in in charge of speed limit so the city has no power to change anything except this way. It will not do squat for safety, in fact likely the opposite. Put it back the way it was and start putting cops in school zones. This city really loves rules and laws but doesn't like enforcement.

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    3. Funny thing is all the schools along Elbow Dr. never have kids at them after 530. I know because I drive it every day 5 days a week. And now I have to slow down for these imaginary kids on the weekend too? A blind mole rat could see them in broad day light. Isn't this why school yards have fences?

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    4. Great idea! Now there won't be any confusion between the two signs. I can't believe how many people complain about having to slow down from 50 to 30 for children.

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  3. So now school zones, as playground zones, will be in effect on the weekends also!

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  4. Agreed,
    Instead of trying to optimize traffic and reduce bottlenecks, the City creates thousands of absolutely unnecessary hassles. The best way to increase kids safety is to teach them how to use common sense when they crossing the road. This signs replacement is for lazy drivers who are not able to learn 2 different signs.

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    1. yep...a lunchkit and a ball a too hard to tell apart

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    2. School playgrounds aren't only used on school days or hours I think this is a good idea

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  5. Lets slow the Deerfoot down to 30 also, in case kids want to play there too.

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  6. Definitely much simpler!
    - J

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  7. “There will no longer be any question as to when you need to slow down. Playground zones are in effect every day year-round,”...apparently a number of people can't tell the difference between a ball and a lunchkit

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  8. Make work project...just like when Edmonton changed all the "snow Route" signs to "No Parking (Seasonal)" signs

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  9. Tell me the utilization of playgrounds in this city after hours, then I can argue whether the tens of thousands of dollars invested in this change is worth it. Is it more rational to work on developing communities where children feel safe to play in playgrounds first? Arguably - a joint agreement for video monitoring of these locations would be preferred by many Calgarian families, supporting playgrounds instead of regulating licensed operators

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  10. This is just wrong. Now slower speeds are in effect weekends and for extended hours in winter when it is dark and kids aren't even outside. So much for efficient connector roads. Hey, lets put up more traffic lights too....

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  11. ugh. so now all summer and on weekends when there isn't school, traffic will slow down in all kinds of busy neighborhoods needlessly.

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    1. Not needlessly if children are using the school playground even when the school is closed

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    2. Screw that, I've got eyes, I can see a photo radar long before they see me. If theres people occupying the area, I'll slow down, but otherwise I'm using my judgment as to the speed I will be doing.

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    3. So you're saying at every school ground in the city that the moment there is no school there will be no children who will go there to play?
      I recall spending a great deal of time in playgrounds and school yards during my free time as a kid, I don't see why it would be so different now.

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    4. Not Very AnonymousAugust 21, 2015 at 10:30 AM

      It would be different now because people are home watching TV and they're afraid to let their kids out. My kids are home playing video games. "Go outside and play!" we say, and they look at us like we're aliens or something.

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  12. makes no sense, it makes it sound as if its simplifying lives and so is welcome or better for calgarians. The previous change to take out one hour before sunset for playground was effective thing. now in summer, 9:30pm is still sunny outside n kids expected to be out for couple more hours but drivers can zip thro playground zone and in winter drivers need to slow down four hours after kids left playgrounds.

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    1. THIS !!
      Exactly correct my friend. Light until after 10 and no playground zone in effect

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  13. Considering there is a playground in at least half of the school zones that kids play at YEAR ROUND, this move isn't that hard to imagine or do. My kids play until about 7:30pm any time of year at their school playground and field. Stop complaining about why you can't get where you are trying to go 20 seconds faster. There are too many examples of people crossing using common sense at designated crosswalks and still being hit this summer alone. And yes, I am for raising the speed limits on Stoney and other highway stretches.

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  14. Wow, so many complaints over something meant to keep kids safer.

    Hey complainers, list your kids photos so we know who to run over, since you don't seem to care about other peoples' children and their safety.

    And in case you couldn't tell, that last sentence was sarcasm, not serious.

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    1. No, you won't, because I teach my kids not to run into the street, and how to properly cross in a cross walk. There is never a time while crossing the street, that, regardless of the drivers doing the right/wrong thing, that a pedestrian who is PAYING ATTENTION will get hit by a car. Teach your kids to be responsible as pedestrians, FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY, and they will never have a problem.

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  15. wahoo Calgary!!! With the schools starting at different times I think this is a great solution. Now we don't have to wonder if this or that school is open. Holidays (not stat) and PD days are taken at different times, if you don't have a child going to that school there's little ways of knowing if it's a school day or not. Almost all schools have a play ground that the kids like to go to on holidays. I don't see why it should be separate from playground zones. Lets keep those kids and families safe and slow down. As for a cash grab....it's only a cash grab if it's patrolled. If it's patrolled and you're caught speeding through there, shame on you. With the way it is now you could be speeding through a Catholic school zone or a year round school zone that started weeks before the public system started. I love the clarity the city is bringing in!

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  16. It seems to me that if people find year-round school zones confusing (which is fair enough) then simply replace the 'year-round school' school zones with playground zones, and keep existing school zones the same.

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    1. Yeah, so lets make it 30km in every residential street in the city while we are at it since children play and walk everywhere.

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  17. I can't believe how many commenters are complaining about this! The lives of children mean nothing to you a holes! Back in 1987 (when I moved away from Calgary), there were only playground zones. Deal with it people. If you don't want to get a ticket, don't effing speed. As for teaching kids common sense...when a young child is playing, they often forget the rules..but you are obviously not quite smart enough to figure that out. Idiot.

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  18. This is so utterly stupid.

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  19. Some really good arguments have been made here against this change and yet council has seen it fit to ignore public opinion on this matter (yet again it would seem).

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  20. CASH GRAB MANIA!!!

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  21. What a waste of time. Children play anywhere, not just in playgrounds. If a child is old enough to be out playing, I would hope he or she is also old enough to know how to cross a road safely. If not, they should be with someone who is. Drivers should pay attention to the road and see children on or near the road, and slow down as needed. This is common sense. Where did that go?

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  22. Simpler and safer. Slow down guys. Enjoy the ride.

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  23. I have always wondered why we didn't have one sign. School zones change throughout the year. And with year round schooling now who knows when these zones go into effect. This will keep the confusion down. Someone mentioned that kids should be taught to cross properly etc. yes that is true but most of us have our license and have been TAUGHT to drive safe. But how many have sped through a zone or went through a cross walk with a person there or something? Everyone has done something like this. It is called an accident for a reason. Let's keep our kids safe and expect to get home 10 seconds later than usual. It won't kill you but it could kill someone else.

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  24. Wow. So much drama!! I have always wondered why we didn't have one sign. This way keeps things easier for everyone. With different school systems and days off and year round schooling there is no set dates for school zones. Too much guessing from one school area or city to another.

    It is all about keeping the kids safe. Someone mentioned that kids should be taught proper safety etc. well that may be true but drivers have licenses be ause they have been taught to "drive safe" but everyone has at some point sped through a zone or didn't stop at a crosswalk or almost hit someone coming out onto the street or something. It is called an accident. It won't kill you to get home 10 seconds later than usual but it could kill a kid.

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  25. Disappointed as a human being... the city is trying to keep PEOPLE an CHILDREM safer but because it's such an inconvenience to slow down for what 30 seconds maybe a minute an then your on your way... when you get hit by a car speeding through a playground zone you won't be bitching about it anymore... complain about something worth complaining about

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  26. Oh no... Having to slow down for 2 blocks is really going to put me late every day now

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  27. Safe? I sense the current is safe enough. School yards are fenced in with limited areas to cross, yet zones often extends well past that. How many incidents have occurred in recent years in school zones AND during these new extended playground zone times? I haven't heard of any. Please show the stats to support the expense.

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    1. Exactly.I have been driving over 30 years in Calgary and don't recall a single incident of a child being hit or killed in a school zone.We have had 5 pedestrians killed so far this year including 1 yesterday on 130 ave.If its about saving lives with lower speeds why not make Stoney,Deerfoot,Glenmore all 30 KPH? Everyone survived in the past, when school zones were not in effect during the summer.Money grab.

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    2. I absolutely agree: where is there any indication that there is a problem or potential problem? Money and time wasted to fix a non-problem.

      And when we get a tax increase next year, we will be told it is needed to maintain police and fire departments. (Remember when Nenshi told us that budgets would henceforth increase only to cover inflation and city growth?)

      Consistency? A great idea: next election, let's get rid of our ENTIRE City Council.

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  28. Like everybody I also want our kids to be safe but not in a unreasonable way. Why we need to change the timing of school/playground, are there significant increase in accidents recently or some statistics that shows accidents are increasing in school/playground zones. We can impose 30km/hr speed limit all over the city at all time so that everybody is safe (adult life matters too). I have 2 kids and they never play in playground late in the evening, forget winter time when it becomes dark around 4:30. In Montreal they divided the year in to two parts for the shake of parking, why can't we do that here for the shake of speed restrictions in school/playground zones. I don't think recent modification will improve safety rather it will be unnecessary hassle for motorist. Teaching kids how to cross the road safely will increase safety.

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  29. As someone said earlier in this thread, it's only a cash grab if you are caught and fined. Get over this..

    Safe streets for children, means safe streets for everyone, include you. And you will become elderly, frail and may not have everyone to drive you around. No, I don't want you as an 80 yr. old driving around. Your faculties won't be as sharp.

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  30. What a great idea! Up until now I thought the children of Calgary are endangered to live in this city, but now I feel much better. Thanks! I still hope this will get changed to 24 hrs / day, or at least until 21:59, I'm usually in bed by 10pm anyway!

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    1. And let's install speed bump's,lower all speed limits to 30-50 KPH city wide.And we can double the stop signs and traffic lights to further slow every one down.This is not needed.

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  31. Not Very AnonymousAugust 21, 2015 at 11:12 AM

    This idea is counterproductive. I'm all for speed restrictions in playground and school zones while children are present, but this change adds a nuisance for drivers and does nothing to aid children's security during daytime and school hours.

    Why? Current school zone hours (till 9pm) are pointless, as there are rarely children present after 5pm (and by "rarely" I ,mean "never"). But, under the current system, school zone speed restrictions only occur on school days. This makes some kind of sense.

    There is still an issue with people speeding in existing school zones
    http://www.edmontonsun.com/2015/02/02/1065-drivers-caught-speeding-in-edmonton-school-zones-in-one-day

    Extending school zone hours and days is only going to make this worse, because people don't see the need for it. The existing speed zone hours are unrealistic because there are no kids present. This teaches drivers that school and playground zones are arbitrary and meaningless, and as several people have suggested, a cash grab by the City. In turn, drivers view obeying a pointless rule as making them subservient to The City (or whoever). "Why should I slow down for a school zone, especially when there's no one looking?"

    This kind of excessive restriction teaches people to break the law. Yes, they'll get caught eventually, but that won't be much help after they've run over my kid.

    What's the alternative?

    1) Adjust school and playground zones to be meaningful! Show drivers that speed zones are there because there really are children nearby.

    2) Enforce existing speed zones. Why is this so difficult? People see that there is no consequence for speeding, so they keep doing it. If the city of Calgary isn't willing to put some effort behind enforcement of the current law, it sure looks like this change is a job creation project for Roads workers, or a cash grab by the police.



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  32. Do we have so much extra money laying around that we can afford to be making what appears to be unnecessary changes like this? Between this, and the total dud of a rebrand the City has recently completed, I'm starting to question the need to raise taxes for the next three years. Sounds like we have plenty.

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  33. First they increase house tax and now they have surplus to spend.... It is like goons that increase tax and then spend by their own way or they also increase city's worker's salary lol!!!

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  34. There has never been a single fatality or accident in a playground zones or school zone before they made these stupid changes. Everyone coped just fine with learning the hours of playground and school zones. School zones especially are behind 8 foot fences, and there isn't a single kid who is stupid enough to run out behind the fence because they are under supervision. I absolutely can't stand the nanny state that is occurring, it is just ridiculous.

    Children do not play at school because they don't live near them, the majority of them or bussed. They play in their cul de sacs and on their neighbourhood streets, and after they turn twelve they become basement rats playing on their computers, phones, XBoxs, Playstations etc. Anyone under 12 is always supervised and in the pitch of winter, there isn't a single kid out there after 6 oclock. Summer and winter hours made sense, and it is only my generation born in the mid 60s that went tobaganning in the dark after supper, it just isn't done today. Kids don't have the fitness and neither do the parents, and if they do do any activities after supper, they are always structured, like dance, hockey, figure skating, soccer. So you aren't even helping out the parents who have to do all this driving to get to those activities, and yes, those 20 seconds add up when you have to go through 10 or 15 school/playground zones to get to that activity. It creates huge bottlenecks and is completely unnecessary. Kids are dropped at the front doors of schools by all the buses and the crazy hover mother parents. Seeing a kid walk or bike to school these days is so rare it almost doesn't exist.

    Way to go city council!!!

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  35. This council is clueless, I am sooooooooooooooooo very glad I didn't vote for them (in my area of course). I now get to sit back as a concerned citizen and enjoy the fruits of their collective goofiness.

    Ridiculous.

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  36. "Cash Grab"??? Seriously? How is this a cash grab? The city is spending $500K on upgrading all the signs to playground signs. The only way the city gets any cash out of it is if dumb asses speed through the zone in which case you are willingly donating money for your chance to take an innocent life. If you think this is a cash grab then you are a complete IDIOT!!!

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    1. You introduced yourself well. Just for you:
      First, it is the cash grab, because the City takes those money not out of it's pocket, but from ours.
      Second, Even obedient drivers sooner or later start breaking the unnecessary rules if they see useless of those limitations.

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  37. A park sign is simpler and helps to avoid confusion.

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  38. The solution is simple: Change only the signs that correspond to the year-round schools! The current system is working just fine.

    Can I propose how we use this money? How about we purchase 2 more buses and add them to the rotation so feeder routes arrive more often, which makes transit more enticing? OR perhaps we put in the amber cross walk push button lights for the busy crosswalks to make street crossing safer? OR we could help Glenmore Trail construction get finished a little earlier? OR add it to the Green Line LRT completion fund? Refurbish the Centre Street Lions again? How about a massive underground waterslide commuting service? Start construction on a permanent drive-in theatre? Pave sidewalks in the industrial SE so people can get to work in the winter without packing a snowblower? Add the money to the 162nd/MacLeod Trail interchange project? Finish Rundle Station a little earlier? Begin construction on Stoney Trail SW (Part provincial $$$...I know). There are dozens of things I can think of right off the top of my head that are more useful than spending money on this. Follow the rules and no one gets hurt. Simple. Change the rules for no logical reason, and people just get mad. Simple.

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  39. My pet peeve about school zones and playground zones is the time that they are in effect until now. 7:30 is a fine time to start them, BUT they are in effect until 9:00 pm all year around.
    In the middle of winter, the sun sets around 5:00 pm, so how many kids are out there playing when it is dark (and cold) between 5-9 in December? NONE
    Therefore, they should go back to the old way of having it relevant to the time of the sunset.

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  40. Answers to response queriesSeptember 9, 2015 at 3:46 PM

    Lots of whiners and some sensibility in the responses. I am in Safety and I have been getting educated on this myself. Human behaviour includes mistakes - sometimes an inattentive or distracted driver - sometimes it's the child. 4-10 seconds is what it will cost you. Below answers a few of the regular questions, extracted from a FAQ sheet from Ward 9 CPS. It's never going to be perfect.

    Approximately 20 per cent of pedestrian collisions in playground zones occur between 6 and 9 p.m. School may be out at 3:30 p.m. but school gyms, classrooms, and other facilities are often used in the evenings for community sports and extracurricular activities. Also, as days get shorter, it becomes increasingly difficult for motorists to see pedestrians, particularly in the evenings. Slowing down to 30 km/h in playground zones helps everyone stay safe.
    Travel time vs. safety impacts
    The impact to travel time is minimal. Most playground zones are 100 – 200 metres long. Slowing down from 50 km/h to 30 km/h will add 4-10 seconds to your commute, but has huge benefits to safety.
    A pedestrian hit at 50 km/h only has a 20 per cent chance of survival. But a pedestrian hit at 30 km/h, has a 90 per cent chance of survival.

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  41. Answers to response queriesSeptember 9, 2015 at 5:00 PM

    Correction - Extracted Information is from the city and is posted at http://www.calgary.ca/Transportation/Roads/Pages/Traffic/Traffic-safety-programs/School-zone-safety.aspx

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  42. Calgary is actually investigating a 40km/h speed limit in all residential areas. Ottawa has had this for years, but they also don't have any school or playground zones. It's just always 40km/h everywhere, all the time. Of course, if Calgary follows suit, they should have decided that before changing all the current signs.

    I am glad the school zones are going away though. Never made sense to have to figure out which was which and a playground zone was always right next to a school zone anyway.

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