Mind Fight: Should playground zones be abolished?

By Laura Bardsley


Playground zones are silent schedule killers. The seconds drivers waste going 20 kilometres per hour slower than they need to could be better spent doing other things: buying coffee, reading Twitter posts, making more children. It’s an outrage that we even consider slowing down with all these other useful things that could be taken care of in those precious seconds. Calgary has more playground zones than any other city in Canada, according to the Calgary Sun, and though there was a City Council plan in the works to drop the speed limits in some zones, it was abandoned. Why?

In our Darwinistic and capitalist world, we let the mantra of survival of the fittest reign in the job market, yet we expect others to watch out for the safety of our young. I’m telling you, sister, our young need to watch out for their own safety, because it ain’t going to happen in the real world. No sir, not with the violence on the streets and the drugs in our schools.

Children wander through life expecting their noses to be wiped, their craw stuffed with food, their university to be paid for and a room in the basement until at least the age of 30, possibly extending as far as 35 (I’m warning you now mom and dad). While our parents were leaving home at the age of 18 to fend for themselves in the job market, this generation is sitting at home, smoking weed and watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, complaining about politics while not yet paying for their own utilities. Maybe if we had to really look both ways before crossing the street we’d be looking out for the man instead of expecting the man to look out for us.

Besides, when was the last time you drove by a playground zone and there were actually children playing in the playground? That’s right, never. Parents are smart enough these days to keep their children inside. If parents aren’t releasing their children to a possible onslaught of metal and rubber, then who are we protecting? Unloved children. A parent would have to hate their children quite a bit to let them play in a world of gang violence and serial rapists and if a parent can’t love their own child, there must be something seriously wrong with it anyway.

The point is, children need to learn to fear cars. While they lolly-gag through crosswalks, fingers stuck rebelliously up their noses, they develop a false sense of security. The result is people getting hit by C-Trains, despite obviously marked tracks and the loud and large nature of the vehicles. We need to stop coddling our youth, otherwise they turn into pudgy, obnoxious and offensive university students.


According to personally found statistics, 90 per cent of Jon Roe’s arguments have been wrong. This case is no different. The abolishment of playground zones is a useless endeavor. Although one could admit that not having to slow down to avoid hitting short, wandering pedestrians would be quite beneficial, it’s not the right move. Playground zones exist because said pedestrians are naive to the metal danger approaching them at high speeds. These pedestrians, although capable of learning times-tables and basic communication skills, cannot simply be taught to fear automobiles. Fear can be overcome and then the short pedestrians would just wander into the street again without notice. Naivete and curiosity have always been an easy way to overcome fear and half the kids out there don’t even know how to spell fear, let alone know what it is. They’re too busy exploring the wonders of tyke-life to be slowed down by something they can’t spell.

Yes, there are less children each day found out wandering the streets or playing on the neighbourhood playground, but the small percentage that are still outside need protection. You gotta help a brother out in those kind of situations and slow down for the little tykes. If children are not going outside because of the dangers their parents make up for them to fear, then ridding the streets of low speed limits would only worsen this problem.

Jon Roe is arguing that we’re coddling our youth, but the youth need to be coddled to grow up just like us. They need the speed limits, hand holding and training wheels to properly adjust to adolescence and university age. The young aren’t able to watch out for their own safety, so our efforts must do the deed. As a generation we must foster the next one’s safety in hope of more generations to come. This partly means slowing down to avoid injuring those around now.

These little pedestrians, as well as their aging parents who take them to the park, are at risk without the protection of playground zone speed limits. Well, the loved children at least. The unloved children, running rampant without parental supervision, still need some protection. When they’re high in the street, or stumbling drunkenly in the daylight hours, a speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour means the difference between their death and a broken leg. Personally, a broken leg would be a better lesson learned– only the living can learn from a funeral.

In coddling our youth, we’re really just teaching them the lesson: fostering hope and care for others. With the way most kids these days refuse to believe in a religion, there has to be someway to communicate the basic moral of caring for others. Speed limits help.

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