Drivers may soon have to pump the brakes around schools.
Council took its first steps to tweak traffic bylaws Tuesday night to allow reduced-speed school zones near the city’s 20 schools — and the city wants to move fast.
After months of meetings between the city, the Brandon Police Service and school officials, the recommendation was submitted to council by the city’s general manager of operations, Rod Sage.
If council approves bylaw changes in the coming weeks, drivers will have to slow down to 30 km/h in residential school areas starting this September through June between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"This is something that has been sought after for a number of years," Sage told council.
Provincial law gives the city the power to make such bylaws and municipalities can decide when speed reductions are in effect.
However, the city cannot stray from strict provincial law when it comes to the number of signs. In order to abide by law, between six and eight signs will have to be placed in the zones and as many as 16 on divided roads, a detail that drew some moans from council.
While requesting data on school-zone incident data, Coun. Stephen Montague (Richmond) said he didn’t want a repeat of the "share the road" signage overkill on Lorne Avenue.
"The regulation is very tight on this," Sage said. "It’s not something we can waver from ... provincial regulations are very clear."
If council goes ahead with the plan, the signs will be put up about three weeks before the beginning of 2014-15 school year at an estimated cost of between $60,000 and $75,000 of public works cash, Sage said.
The new bylaw, if it survives final approval with no changes, won’t include the intersection of 18th Street and Victoria Avenue near Earl Oxford Middle School. There also won’t be a reduced speed zone on Victoria Avenue East near King George School.
Police Chief Ian Grant, who contributed to the report, told council police already does a lot of enforcement in school areas and speed is not only the issue. He said parked cars that line the roads near schools are also an issue, and reduced speeds would help with incidents and close calls.
Sage hopes the bylaw changes will pass second and final reading on June 2.
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