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Concerns on Residential Roadways:

Throughout the City of Grande Prairie, residents care greatly for the safety of their children. The City shares this attitude, and wishes to inform and encourage residents to help create a safe environment for everyone.

A situation that affects the safety of pedestrians and others is where there is apparent speeding on a residential roadway. Concerned residents wish the traffic to be slowed down, often with a number of commonly requested solutions, which include signs for:

Although most of these can be applied in certain situations, none of them are appropriate for all cases. There are also additional solutions that can be investigated, along with the input of residents. However, no solution can be considered until the City is aware of residents' concerns.

We thank all of you who have contacted the City to date, and ask that residents continue to inform us of their comments and concerns.
Contact Information


Signs are a useful tool to help direct drivers to use the road properly and warn them of potential hazards along the roadway. When placed improperly, their effectiveness is reduced. An analogy to this is construction zones. Construction zones, if signed and placed properly near the location of workers and construction areas, can be effective. If placed at distances far away from where work is visible or left in place when no work is going on, drivers may learn to pay less attention to the signs, including where they are properly installed. This effect is similar for any signs that are improperly placed or overused. As well, if signs are not applied consistently or when they are not warranted, it also reduces the ability of enforcement to convict drivers who disobey them even in properly signed areas.

One of the worst effects of an improperly placed sign is the false sense of security that a sign may promote when no added protection or improvements have actually occurred. If placed alone to control speed, a playground or lower speed limit sign has a minimal effect. Drivers who were speeding or driving without due care previously are unlikely to suddenly improve their habits because of a sign, and motorists who drove responsibly before the installation may also question why the new restriction should be obeyed.

Playground Signs
Playground signs are an accepted Traffic Control Device and are used only around playgrounds adjacent to or immediately approaching a roadway. Its purpose is to warn drivers that a playground is nearby and there is a possibility that children may run onto the roadway from the playground at unexpected locations. A 30km/h speed limit is usually applied where there is no physical separator between the playground and road, such as a fence or building.

"Children at Play" Signs
The use of "Children at Play" and similar signs is not acceptable since these signs are a direct and open suggestion to children that playing in and beside the roadway is okay. These signs are not an approved Traffic Control Device, and there is also no evidence that such signs prevent accidents or reduce the speed of vehicles. Even if paid for by other individuals or groups, they will not be installed by nor approved by the City.
Children live along almost every residential roadway, and drivers travelling through neighbourhoods expect the presence of children. Whether an area has one child or fifty, drivers should still exercise caution. For those who drive improperly, a sign reminding drivers of the obvious is, unfortunately, not likely going to change their behaviour. If a sign was needed for this they would have to be installed on every road, and blocks without signage would imply that less caution is required.

Although convenient, a roadway is not a proper play area at any time of the year. The City asks that children be discouraged from playing on or beside a road at all times, and that parents supervise their children preferably in designated playgrounds and parks, or in confined areas such as their backyards.

Privately-Installed Signs
A sign may be installed privately along public roadways, but only if it meets all requirements for placement, material, and approval by the City. Without the approval from the City, privately-installed signs along public roadways that resemble a Traffic Control Device are illegal. The individuals who install such signs usually have good intentions, but besides being illegally placed, there are often aspects of these signs that do not meet requirements, such as clearly visible words and symbols, nighttime visibility, secure attachments, and durability. All these things can make the sign more of a distraction rather than provide clear guidance to a driver. Because they may be thought to imply that it is acceptable for children to play on a roadway, "Children at Play" signs on a roadway also pose an additional liability risk to those who installed them.

Speed Bumps:

Although commonly requested as a means to control speed, speed bumps are not an appropriate solution for a public roadway.

Traffic Calming is the method of applying a number of changes to the roadway, including medians, blockages, and other self-enforcing physical alterations to change driver behaviour and improve conditions for non-motorized road users. Unfortunately, traffic calming is not always suitable, and can create inconveniences for local residents such as reduced parking and ease of travel. However, traffic calming can be useful in reducing some problems caused by traffic and improper driver behaviour; this process involves the City working together with the community to arrive at a solution. 

Increased Enforcement:

Because most concerns are often related to driver behaviour, enforcement is often the best tool to assist with addressing the concern. Unfortunately, enforcement cannot be everywhere all the time, but with your help City Enforcement Services and the Grande Prairie RCMP can better focus their efforts.

If there is a particular individual or group of vehicles or drivers that is causing you concern, please note the time of day, day of the week, and location when the problem occurs most frequently. Information such as a license plate number, make of vehicle, and driver description can also be useful. Also note as much information as you can describing an incident, including witnesses if possible. Although it can sometimes be difficult to catch reckless drivers in the act, especially if they are not speeding, there may be some action that the police can take, including warning the owner of the vehicle. If you are willing to testify in court, the police may be able to issue a ticket to the registered owner of the vehicle, based on your observations. Through the schools, the RCMP also conducts educational awareness campaigns to help children understand road safety.

You can contact Enforcement Services at (780) 830-5790, or the RCMP General Inquiries desk at (780) 830-5701.
Please note that many times a vehicle, especially larger ones, may appear to be speeding but are actually travelling below the speed limit. However, they may still not be driving appropriately to the road conditions. Depending on visibility, road surface conditions, and other factors, drivers should often drive below the posted speed limit, whether it is 50, 40, 30, or even 20km/h. It is up to drivers to exercise due care and attention and drive appropriately to the road conditions. Unfortunately even after a solution is put into place speeding or improper driving can still occur to some extent on any roadway.

If you are concerned with speeding or other traffic problems in your area, please call Enforcement Services, RCMP, or Transportation Services. In many cases, enforcement will be the best solution, but there are also other solutions, along with your input, that the City of Grande Prairie can investigate.

 Related Information:
   School & Playground Zones & Areas Bulletin

Contact Information:
Engineering Services - Transportation is located at: City Service Centre 9505-112 Street, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Mailing address: P.O. Bag 4000, Grande Prairie, AB, Canada, T8V 6V3
Phone #: 780) 538-0417
Fax #: (780) 830-7440

Enforcement Services is located at: 10202-99 Street, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Phone#: (780) 830-5790
Fax #: (780) 830-5705

RCMP office is located at: 10202-99 Street, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Phone#: (780) 830-5701
Fax #: (780) 830-5703

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Last updated: 12/14/2017 9:30:14 AM