Traffic tickets and school zone hours may soon change in the Town of Blackfalds.
On Tuesday, Blackfalds town council passed the first reading of its traffic bylaw that increases fines for a number of traffic violations in the town and changes the school/playground hours to reflect school hours.
Terry Topolnitsky, Blackfalds’ planning and development manager, said the bylaw was brought up to date, along with other bylaws and fines for violations, including illegal parking, speeding and heavy vehicles driving off route.
“If they have a very small fine, they are going to keep doing it,” said Topolnitsky. “You need to get it up to date so it is a deterrent and people don’t do it.”
Topolnitsky said driving a heavy vehicle off route becomes not only a traffic hazard but a safety issue for pedestrians. Under the revised bylaw, the fine increases to $250 from $50. Drivers who illegally park a heavy vehicle in a residential area would get a $250 fine.
The bylaw also increases the penalty for illegally parking in a handicap zone to $150, a $75 increase. Violators who drive or park on a town park will face a $100 penalty, a $30 increase.
Cyclists who ride a bicycle on a sidewalk or leave a bicycle in a public place would face a $10 increase from $20 to $30 for both violations.
The bylaw also extends the hours for school and playground zones. Under the current bylaw, the school zone hours are in one-and-a-half to two-hour blocks starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m.
“Our schools start at eight o’clock,” said Topolnitsky. “So we have got people coming before. The four o’clock covers it because they are out before 3 p.m.”
The revised bylaw would see a continuous zone from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Topolnitsky said the zone would be in line with the school start time at 8 a.m. The playground zone would start an hour earlier, at 7:30 a.m., and end one hour after sunset.
A public hearing on the bylaw changes is scheduled for April 10 at town council chambers.