With K-12 students mandated to at-home learning until after the Victoria Day long weekend, the City of Grande Prairie says school zones will not be in effect in the municipality. However, Sergeant Ross Gear with Enforcement Services is urging all drivers to keep speeds down around schools.
“These are playgrounds; they’re not zoned as playgrounds, but the kids use these facilities all the time,” he says. “We should expect they will be using it this time as well.”
Gear says during the last time schools transitioned to online learning, he learned there were still several facilities with students in attendance for special reasons, noting they are critical for some youth. He hopes people will continue to be cautious in those areas, even if schoolyards aren’t busy with children.
“They had a few children attending; these were generally students with special needs, and they were there for special programming,” he says. “Consider that, even though schools aren’t in, consider them a playground, and that way we can’t go wrong,” he adds.
Gear also suggests that with the amount of construction expected to take place this summer, drivers should already be on alert for changes to speed limits throughout the city. He argues it offers a chance for drivers to remain focused on driving, with speed limits also lowered in work zones.
“For people to just slow down to make somebody safe, it makes a big difference, and I thank the good responsible motorists that do these things because it really does make a difference on safety.”
School zones across Grande Prairie typically have a speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour, Monday to Friday, when school is in session.