October 4, 2017

A California School Crossing So Dangerous They Won't Hire a Safety Guard~and a Vancouver School Crossing They Won't Do Because it Slows Traffic.

This story from NBC San Diego shows how far motordom continues to dominate, even when there are youngsters trying to walk to school. In Solana Beach North County California, a busy intersection has been  “deemed too dangerous even for crossing guards, leaving parents alarmed.” 

Officials at Skyline Elementary removed paid crossing guards by the 1-5 freeway exits on Loma Santa Fe because “the intersection was too hazardous and difficult to navigate.”
Getting rid of the crossing guard gives no other path for children walking or biking  to school to cross Interstate 5 without crossing freeway exits. The choices: Drive your kids or let them try crossing without an adult crossing guard. Parents being parents and thoughtful individuals, they have come up with some solutions to the problem, like getting a volunteer adult to assist at the intersection. They are also lobbying to prohibit right turns at some of the red lights to make the crossing easier and more understandable for children.
Meanwhile in Vancouver Denise Ryan in the Vancouver Sun reports on the independent school Stratford Hall located east of Commercial Drive between 14th and 16th Avenues. There are 500 kids, the drop-off for children is on Commercial Drive, and the kids cross the street to use Clark Park.  This is a bendy section of Commercial Drive, and despite the school asking for a school zone to be located here to slow drivers, the City has continually nixed the request. Why? The City of Vancouver in a written statement says “because Commercial Drive is an arterial road, “installing a 30-km/h school zone proves difficult,” and that “speed humps and other traffic-calming measures are not feasible options for arterials and collectors,” in part because of the impact it could have on “operations of a variety of key services, including buses and emergency-response vehicles.”

Last time I checked this was a four lane road at this location, and every driver knows to pull over if they hear an emergency siren. Somehow I think bus schedules can also be adjusted to provide a safe crossing for kids in a two stretch block. It’s the 21st century~time to recognize that there are some schools on arterials and those kids deserve just as safe a crossing to school as does everyone else. It’s the exception that should be made for the safety and comfort of kids.
Thankfully a motivated group of  “Grade 5 and 10s at Stratford Hall has taken on the task of researching and gathering data to try to effect change as part of their governance studies. They’ve partnered with their school liaison officer, Const. Cheryl Leggett, to document traffic flow and safety, and, with the help of a donor, and a substantial discount from the Anson traffic group, rented an electronic traffic-speed reader so they can build a substantive, data-driven case to bring to the city.” 
And what does the school want? They want simple improvements, such as overhead lighting for the cross walk at 15th Avenue, and to have the stretch of street designated a 30-km/h zone. Is this really too much to ask for? Do we really need to trigger the ICBC warrant system by having someone die or be seriously injured at this site to get a change? A sustainable green city means taking care of the most vulnerable. That includes children crossing safely across the street to their school.

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