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Opinion: Burnaby drivers already whining about longer school zone speed limit times

The city made a good change to protect children. Not everyone sees it that way
school zone hours web
A City of Burnaby worker puts up a school zone sign earlier this week.

The signs listed longer school zone speed limit times hadn’t even started being added earlier this week when Burnaby drivers started writing in to complain about it.

Good grief.

School zone speed limits in Burnaby are now six hours longer every day school is in session after city council approved an amendment to its street and traffic bylaw.

The change, according to the school district, means the 30 km/h speed limit around schools will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday except on school holidays.

“I don't understand the thinking of this,” wrote Dennis. “What children are going to school at 7am, what children are playing outside in the dark at 10pm?, when are the children doing homework, sleeping, or at home for the next school day?, the school hours have not extended?”

Well, the quick answer is that schools are more than just schools – they are community hubs. Many youth groups use schools after school is done for meetings and events. I remember when I was in Cub Scouts at Parkcrest, we would have our meetings in the evenings and then walk home. Also, many sports fields at schools are used after hours by youth and even adult teams.

I feel like this is a precaution to recognize that schools go beyond just educational use.

Another reader, Kurt, complained that he follows the school zone rules but then gets “honked” at by other impatient drivers and that it hurts his feelings.

“Apart from costing the taxpayers a pretty penny, all this will do is create more friction amongst the populace. Just like masks or other COVID-related restrictions. If you don't supervise/police the situation, then all you are creating is a fighting ground for those who follow the rules and those who don't.”

That doesn’t make any sense, although it is telling about the complaints about masks. We have speed limits all over and people have to follow them. This is just one change in hours.

"This is about protecting our children and building a community where walking is an easy and safe choice," Mayor Mike Hurley said in a city news release. “As Burnaby moves to make streets safer for students and families, we also encourage the provincial government to consider a B.C.-wide approach to traffic calming measures around parks and school zones.”

The city will install about 600 signs marking the change, according to another news release from the school district, and the new school-zone times will be enforceable as soon as they’re up.

Burnaby is the first municipality in the Greater Vancouver area to enact expanded school zone hours, according to the city.

City council approved the new hours along with a series of other traffic calming measures after requests from the school board and the city’s parks, recreation and culture commission, according to the school district.

Along with the expanded school-zone hours, council also approved the installation of 200 speed humps at 72 locations – 36 near schools and another 36 near local parks.  

  • With additional reporting by Cornelia Naylor
  • Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.