Drivesmart column: Solving school traffic problems

The district commissioned a traffic study, conducted by the Watt Consulting Group

By Tim Schewe

The Parent Advisory Council for Hans Helgesen Elementary School near Victoria wanted to solve pedestrian safety issues on Rocky Point Road. The Council was working with the District of Metchosin and wanted to have a marked crosswalk installed at that road’s intersection with Windover Terrace. The District was reluctant to do this.

The PAC approached HASTeBC for assistance and they referred me to the school’s principal to see if I could contribute to a solution. The principal was very kind and kept me up to date on the group’s efforts as the collaboration progressed.

The PAC next considered the permanent installation of a solar powered speed reader board to try and slow traffic on Rocky Point Road instead of the marked crosswalk.

District of Metchosin’s planner provided guidance on how to proceed with the request in order to present it to council and satisfy them that it was an appropriate solution to the problems that the PAC had identified.

Parents at the school had participated in the CRD’s Active & Safe Routes to School initiative.

At this point, School District 62 took what is probably the best approach for a situation like this. The district commissioned a traffic study, conducted by the Watt Consulting Group, to survey the situation and provide an informed solution.

While this is not the least expensive approach, it does provide a professional examination of all the issues involved along with solutions that are justifiable in the context of current traffic engineering values.

The study found problems with traffic speeds and parking as well as parents using inappropriate locations to drop their children off for school.

Solutions included reconfiguration of the school parking lot. This would improve bus movements and traffic circulation so that students could be dropped off more efficiently. Parents would have less incentive to park and drop off children where they should not do so.

Changes to signage were recommended to increase the awareness of the school property itself for passing drivers. The thought being that if drivers knew the school was adjacent to the road they were driving on, they might choose to comply with the signs.

Implicit in the report were references to the control of parking off of school property. Installation of curbing would limit a driver’s ability to park on the side of Rocky Point Road and parking on Windover Terrace was identified as presenting safety issues.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

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