Kaleden Elementary sidewalk for safety!
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The staff of Kaleden Elementary school (KES), and parents of the students there, as represented in this letter by the Kaleden Parents’ Advisory Council (KPAC), have a great deal of concern regarding the safety of the children
• walking to school at peak times,
• walking to and from the school for extra-curricular activities,
• and the lack of safety measures in the roadway at the rural Kaleden Elementary School (KES).
There is a chronic, blatant disregard for the school speed-zone limit at KES, and parent’s concerns have been documented repeatedly in KPAC records dating as far back as 2009 (and likely even further back - however, those records no longer exist).
Multiple measures have been initiated by KPAC and KES administration in an effort to enforce school-zone safety, such as installation of “traffic susies”, traffic cones, and speed monitoring over several years - but these measures have repeatedly and consistently fallen short. These products, purchased by the KPAC, are often driven over by vehicles and destroyed - sometimes within days of purchase. The recurring replacement cost falls to the fundraising efforts of the KPAC, and often amounts to hundreds of dollars each time these safety items are damaged or destroyed. And just as often, after the initial debut of a new road-safety item, they are promptly ignored.
Given the mandate of the Healthy Schools BC philosophy that encourages walking or cycling to school, it is absurd that our community’s elementary-aged children have no sidewalk from Lakehill Road to the school along Linden Avenue on which to walk safely and out of traffic.
The street in front of KES is a main thoroughfare for our rural community, and is a narrow roadway, with a constricted, or non-existent shoulder. This is a common route walked by children, to and from school, as well as to extra-curricular recreation activities at the nearby Kaleden Community Hall, located just east of the corner at Lakehill Road and Linden Avenue. During peak traffic times, which generally follow the same timeline as school hours, there is potential for serious injury to children walking to school. And, if this situation is not bad enough, during higher-hazard, inclement weather conditions, which occur often, the children are forced to walk directly in the roadway to avoid mud, or ice and snow piled on the narrow-shoulder areas.
We have been incredibly fortunate that there have been no accidents causing serious injuries to the children up to this point. However, we cannot rely on “good fortune” when it comes to the safety of our children – enough is enough! As indicated by the provincial government’s New Era commitment to make streets safer, and RDOS Area-D Director, Tom Siddon’s hope to “extend a side branch of the sidewalk up Linden Avenue to the School”, the time has come to follow through on these commitments.
The majority of the schools in our district have had multiple traffic-calming measures taken in recent years, including: the narrowing of roadways, the addition of speed humps and painted signage directly on the street, the installation of speed-reader boards, and the widening of sidewalks. KES is one of few schools within our district to not have any of these measures implemented, - and as such, there is a very real risk of a child suffering serious injury or worse as a result.
We are requesting that the Ministry of Transportation immediately address the lack of safety measures with traffic-calming and school-zone safety implementation in the following ways:
• The installation of a sidewalk from the corner of Lakehill Road at Linden Avenue to the school property. This is our top priority, and long overdue.
• Extending the school zone (north bound on Linden Avenue) so that the school area sign and 30-Kilometres-per-hour tab are posted more visibly prior to the sharp corner at Linden Avenue and Birch Street
• Installation of delineators and speed humps to slow chronic traffic speeding
• Installation of a crosswalk from the east side of Linden Avenue to the west side, on which the school is located.
• A speed-reader board installed on the roadway within the school speed-zone on the approach to the school.
Surely the safety of our community’s children far outweighs costs involved with the installation of the above-mentioned measures and applicable signage. We sincerely appreciate your consideration and expedited attention to these matters.
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