City recommending changes to school zone speed limits

In March 2014, Guelph City Council approved new reduced speed limit zones in front of elementary schools Guelph. Two different school speed limits were introduced:

  • 40 km/h limits on arterial roads, in effect on school days between 8–9 a.m. and 3–4 p.m.
  • 30 km/h limits on collector and local roads, in effect at all times

Reduced school zone speed limits were phased in between April and June of 2014, and City staff collected traffic volume and speed data in 2014 and 2016.

City staff found that the introduction of 30 km/h and 40 km/h school speed zones reduced average driving speed by about 3 km/h, and that 30 km/h speed zones were not more effective at reducing average speed than 40 km/h zones (see arterial speeds versus local speeds).

Traffic speeds in school zones (85th percentile)

Roadway type Before After 2014 After 2016
Arterial 58 km/h 56 km/h 55 km/h
Collector 55 km/h 53 km/h 49 km/h
Local 47 km/h 45 km/h 44 km/h

The 85th percentile speed is the speed at which 85 per cent of the motorists are traveling at or below.

Staff recommend consistent 40 km/h limits in school zones across Guelph

The purpose of reduced speeds in school zones is to improve pedestrian safety and comfort during peak school travel times. In an effort to increase speed compliance in elementary school zones, City staff are recommending all school zone speed limits be posted as 40 km/h, only when school is in session. This means reduced limits would be in effect at specific times, Monday to Friday from September to June in all school zones across Guelph. This recommendation:

  • provides one consistent school zone speed for drivers throughout Guelph,
  • is consistent with what neighbouring cities are doing in school zones, and
  • has received the support of Guelph Police Services.

In some cases there will be no change to currently posted limits, and in some cases the limits will be increased from 30 km/h at all times to 40 km/h during school periods.

Staff are also recommending that more roads around schools be posted with reduced speed limits, and are recommending adding school zones along roads with school activity along the roadway.

A full list of recommended school zones is posted below.

What’s next

The implementation of the reduced speed limits within elementary school zones has had a minor positive impact on the wellness and safety of children travelling to and from school. Staff recommendations are aimed at improving this benefit.

Effective speed management requires a balance of signs, physical restrictions and enforcement. The City is currently working on updating the Neighbourhood Traffic Management  Policy that will help define what situations warrant traffic calming, and what types of traffic calming measures could be appropriate in Guelph, including in elementary school areas.

Proposed school zone speed limits

The following roads will have 40 km/h when flashing signs in the indicated school zones. The reduced limit will be in effect Monday to Friday, September to June, between 8–9 a.m. and 3–4 p.m.:

  • College Avenue, Guelph Community Christian School
  • Grange Road, Ken Danby Public School and Holy Trinity Catholic School
  • Imperial Road, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School
  • Paisley Road, Paisley Road Public School
  • Scottsdale Drive, Priory Park Public School and École élémentaire catholique Saint-René-Goupil (added school zone)
  • Speedvale Avenue, Resurrection Christian Academy
  • Stevenson Street, Edward Johnson Public School and Holy Rosary Catholic School
  • Victoria Road, Trillium Waldorf School
  • Victoria Road, St. John Catholic School
  • Victoria Road, St. Patrick Catholic School
  • Waterloo Avenue, Guelph Montessori School
  • Watson Parkway, École Guelph Lake Public School
  • Willow Road, Willow Road Public School
  • Willow Road, Westwood Public School
  • Willow Road, Mitchell Woods Public School

The following roads will have 40 km/h signs with an additional tab indicating the times at which the speed is reduced. The reduced limit will be in effect Monday to Friday, September to June, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.:

  • Alice Street, Sacred Heart Catholic School (added school zone)
  • Bishop Court, Mary Phelan Catholic School
  • Brant Avenue, Brant Avenue Public School
  • Brighton Street, École élémentaire l’Odyssée
  • Clairfields Drive, St. Paul Catholic School
  • Colonial Drive, Sir Isaac Brock Public School
  • Colonial Drive, St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic School
  • Couling Crescent, École Guelph Lake Public School (added school zone)
  • Dublin Street, Central Public School
  • Dumbarton Street, Resurrection Christian Academy (added school zone)
  • Emma Street, Edward Johnson Public School (added school zone)
  • Exhibition Street, Victory Public School
  • Fergus Street, Guelph Montessori School (added school zone)
  • Forest Street, Cornerstone Christian School
  • Galt Street, Guelph Montessori School (added school zone)
  • Gateway Drive, Gateway Drive Public School
  • Goodwin Drive, Westminster Woods Public School
  • Guelph Street, St. Joseph Catholic School
  • Huron Street, Sacred Heart Catholic School
  • Ironwood Road, F.A. Hamilton Public School
  • June Avenue, June Avenue Public School
  • Knightswood Boulevard, Resurrection Christian Academy (added school zone)
  • Laurine Avenue, John Galt Public School
  • Lee Street, William C. Winegard Public School
  • Lemon Street, King George Public School
  • McCann Street, École Arbor Vista Public School (added school zone) 
  • McElderry Road, St Michael Catholic School
  • Metcalfe Street, King George Public School (added school zone)
  • Ottawa Crescent, Ottawa Crescent Public School
  • Rickson Avenue, Rickson Ridge Public School
  • Ptarmigan Drive, Kortright Hills Public School
  • Severn Drive, École Guelph Lake Public School (added school zone)
  • Catharine Street, King George Public School (added school zone)
  • Stephanie Drive, Taylor Evans Public School
  • Water Street, John McCrae Public School
  • Waverley Drive, Waverely Drive Public School
  • Westwood Road, St. Peter Catholic School
  • Westwood Road, Westwood Public School (added school zone)
  • Wilton Road, Trillium Waldorf School (added school zone)
  • Windsor Street, Waverley Drive Public School (added school zone)
  • Youngman Drive, Jean Little Public School
  • Zaduk Place, Zaduk Place Public School

Provide your comments

City staff are taking their recommendations to Council in May 2017. If you would like to provide a comment that will be included as an Appendix in the staff report, please submit your comment here by midnight, February 22, 2017.