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10/30/2012
Canada: Group Blasts Hidden School Zone Signs
Winnipeg, Canada creates speed traps near a school that has no school zone or speed limit warning signs.

Henderson HighwayDrivers in Winnipeg, Canada are being lured into speed traps by hidden or missing school zone and speed limit warning signs. The activist group Wise Up Winnipeg held a press conference yesterday to announce the conclusion of their review that found half of the legally required signs are not visible.

"The Highway Traffic Act has certain provisions to protect children in school zones which can only be enforced and adhered to by motorists with proper signing present," WiseUpWinnipeg founder Todd Dube said in a statement. "With the current state of signing, these provisions are essentially useless and a hazard to our children."

A total of 206 school zone signs have gone missing, and most of them have been gone for three years or more. Worse, the group found 32 school zone warning signs were installed on streets that have no schools.

"It creates the false expectation of there being a school present which erodes the effectiveness of the signs when they are properly installed," Dube said. "It also proves the city does have the resources to install signs; they're just misused and carelessly managed."

Wise Up Winnipeg declared the area near John Pritchard School as the city's worst signed school zone. It is located on Henderson Highway, a six-lane divided road with a 60km/h (37 MPH) speed limit. Under the relevant regulations, the zone must be posted with larger-format school zone signs on both sides of the road along with additional speed limit signs. The group used Google Street View to confirm three signs were missing in 2009, and a total of five are gone today. Southbound traffic has no way of knowing there is a school nearby as only one sign -- facing the opposite direction -- indicates the presence of a school.

"This is simply unacceptable and a disgrace to public safety" says Dube. "The safety of our children should be a much bigger priority for the city."

Wise Up Winnipeg has had success convincing city leaders to change their ways. Earlier this month the group held a press conference to highlight the lack of required photo radar warning signs at the intersection of Henderson Highway and Gilmore Avenue -- an omission that jeopardized the validity of speed camera tickets issued at the location. Within hours, city trucks were out to install the missing signs. In January, the group posted its own giant warning sign letting drivers know the speed limit on the Pembina Highway. The sign read: "Too slow and poorly posted: Unfair trap often ahead."




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