September 5 marks the first day of classes and the first day the city’s new harmonized school and playground zones take effect.
Drivers can expect to see enforcement around city schools and police are reminding motorists to slow down and drive extra cautiously.
All school zones have been converted to year-round playground zones with a 30 km/h limit in effect from 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily.
The decision to harmonize school and playground zones aligns with recommendations from the 2021 Transportation Safety Plan and will help increase safety for youngsters accessing playground equipment during and after school hours. One fixed time will also make it easier for motorists to remember to slow down.
The change is backed by research that shows harmonized zones reduce pedestrian collisions by 33 per cent overall and 70 per cent between 5:30 and 9 p.m.
In addition to speeding violations, police will be conducting enforcement to address infractions such as distracted driving, drivers failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians, parking violations and illegal U-turns.
Motorists are reminded not to park on or obstruct a crosswalk and not to double park or park in alleys during student drop-off or pick-up. It’s also important for drivers to watch out for school buses, especially when children are boarding or disembarking. In the City of Lethbridge there is a bylaw prohibiting school buses from using their stop lights and stop arms, but drivers are still urged to use caution when navigating around buses that are stopped.
When walking to school, pedestrians are reminded to cross the street at corners or in marked crosswalks – no jaywalking – and obey other traffic safety rules of the road.