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Penticton sets permanent 30 km/h speed limits in school zones

Changes will be made ahead of the next school year
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Penticton city officials said they are taking steps to improve safety in and around school zones. (City of Penticton photo)

As part of its efforts to address road safety, Penticton is moving ahead with plans to make 30 km/h speed limits permanent in school zones 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

At a city council meeting Tuesday, May 21, councillors voted 6-1 in favour of receiving a city-led safety report and directing staff to send a letter to the province expressing support for municipal autonomy in setting default speed limits.

Coun. Ryan Graham was opposed.

Road signage around school zones and playgrounds will be altered during the summer to reflect the permanent speed limit changes.

Similar safety initiatives have been implemented in other B.C. communities, like Saanich on Vancouver Island, city officials stated.

“Throughout the summer, and in the evenings and weekends, we see kids at the fields or playgrounds past the typical school zone hours,” said Kristen Dixon, the city’s general manager of infrastructure.

“We want to keep our kids safe – and reducing speeds to 30 km/h is one of the steps we can take to slow drivers through these zones where children are playing.”

For residential areas, Dixon says the city has been monitoring speed limit changes on a “case-by-case” basis.

The city’s efforts to address safety are part of the multi-year “Safe Routes to School” plan, which launched in the spring of 2023.

It engages district staff and parent advisory committees to learn more about how children are travelling to school.

City officials recently completed studies at Carmi and Uplands elementary schools.

Among the changes coming around Uplands Elementary include installing additional sidewalks on Middle Bench Road, a review of the Westminster Avenue East corridor, and addressing “u-turning” in front of the school.

At Carmi Elementary, the city says it is currently designing changes to the Manitoba Street corridor.

Although School District 67 has voted to adopt its long-range facilities plan – which will see the closure of the school – the city’s changes will also apply to the new KVR Elementary.

Studies at Columbia Elementary and the future Skaha Elementary are up next.

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