You may run over a kid now

July 2015 033

Bureaucracies can always be depended on to make everything complicated. So complicated, only they can figure things out. Thus creating a dependency on their expertise to get what we want. At great expense, of course. All those complicated rules, you see, many of which they write themselves.

So take a gander at the new sign installed on this suburban lawn. Big thick post. Very high too, in order to fit all three apparently necessary signs onto it. Top one is a icon, pretty easy to figure out: school ahead.

Then there is the new speed limit, 40kmh.  Ottawa has a default speed limit of 50 kmh even on minor residential streets like the one pictured. There’s an intersection up by that parked car. In theory, some gung ho driver could accelerate to 50, but the layout of the suburban winding streets works to convey the notion that the appropriate speed is less — this is good traffic calming, suburban style. Nonetheless, a lower speed limit is desirable near schools, so the sign posts the reduced limit. So far, so good.

hours of school sign

But the city doesn’t want to inconvenience those folks who drive here, so the limit is only in effect at certain hours, and only on certain days.

So imagine you are driving here in late August. Is school in? Not likely. OK, speed up to 50 for that short block.

Except when you get to the actual school you discover it a French language school. Oops, their programs start a week earlier than the much-more-widely advertised English public school start date. You all knew that, right? But you cannot know what is a school day by reading the sign … which I’m confident someone someday will use as an “out” for running over some kid. Or is generally OK to run over a kid depending on what language they speak?

And why only go slow when the school buses are present? Don’t any kids actually walk to their local neighbourhood school?

July 2015 179

At the school itself there is curb-side tot lot. For very small kids. Ooops, a pre-k program runs here. Which means it runs before school hours, all day, and after school hours. So is one allowed to speed up to run over the pre-schoolers but not the schoolers?

And that program runs all summer. So is it OK to speed up and run over pre-schoolers because they aren’t officially within official school days?

July 2015 180

And look what’s next: a public park. Ooooh, with a plaque in it (I do like that Somerset Ward parks don’t get plaqued):

July 2015 151

So, slow down for school kids. But not for pre-schoolers? And not for kids going to and from the park, whether it be during school hours or non-school days? Has someone made a video game of this yet, so we can get practice?

And, halfway along the park, this sign:

July 2015 031

That’s right, the school zond ends, you can speed up now, we’ve installed a sign to tell you that the 40kmh limit is over, you may now resume speeding at 50. Do note that the street dead ends just a hundred yards on, or motorists have to take a 90 degree turn onto a side street. Speeding up is scarcely likely.

There’s a similar set of signs going the other way too. And a sign telling you that “slow down and live” zone ends — just a few meters before a stop sign.

When the city holds budget consultations, they go through the charade of asking residents to play “beggar they neighbour” by raiding someone else’s bucket of money. What we do need to do though, is stop doing the same expensive silly things we do now.

At a max, do we need more than  one 40kmh zone sign at each approach to the school/park? If the zone runs out after so much distance, do we really have to post signs saying that? Let someone drive a little further at 40. It won’t kill the driver, and might save a life. And get our city workers doing something better with their time.

5 thoughts on “You may run over a kid now

  1. But where is the community safety zone sign…. and the kids playing sign… and the stop ahead sign…

    You get my point! The school zone sign is sufficient.

    I also noticed the ‘timed’ sign on Donnald. Did not know what speed I should do. Of course the guy behind me didn’t care. And it’s a cycling route.

  2. Same sort of thing appears on Den Haag near Carson. I’d ride by in the summer and there’d still be lots of kids out, playing in the school yard or nearby park. It’s a tad insulting.

  3. You could do another one on the no-stopping rules in front of that school. You can stop right in front (space for about 6 cars), but not a little farther along where you took that picture of a tot-lot. Why no stopping there? I guess so drivers can maintain clear visibility of the chain link fence to ensure it doesn’t leap in front of them. A little farther on where the city park starts you’re allowed to stop again. On snow days when buses are cancelled the spots in front of the school of filled quickly, and then the non-stopping rules require small kids to walk an extra 100m on a temporarily busy street (no sidewalks).

    I imagine the planning went something like this.
    Planner #1: Remind me why we’re not allowing parents to drop their kids off there?
    Planner #2: To keep the side of the roadway clear for lots of little pedestrians.
    Planner #1: And there’ll be lots of pedestrians because we’re forcing their parents to stop farther away?
    Planner #2: Yup.
    Planner #1: And the increased distance means much longer dwell times as the parents accompany their children to the school?
    Planner #2: Yup
    Planner #1: So that soaks up even more parking capacity on the local streets ensuring longer walks beside moving and parking cars on narrow streets?
    Planner #2: Yup
    Planner #1: And this is for safety reasons, right?
    Planner #2: Yup.
    Planner #1: Makes sense to me.

Comments are closed.