City staff to meet with school board to address traffic safety concerns

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City staff will meet with several School District 69 board members next week to discuss safety concerns at an intersection where a student was struck by a vehicle in November.

The school board chair, Eve Flynn, wrote a letter to council requesting the city pay the cost of providing crossing guards at the intersection until nearby construction is completed, as well as put in place a long-range plan for pedestrian safety at the intersection. 

Flynn said safety became an issue several months ago due to increased traffic from construction at nearby developments, in addition to constantly changing traffic patterns as drivers maneuver around cones intended to facilitate flow of construction vehicles.

“The movement of those vehicles, most notably large tandem dump trucks, creates additional confusion and risk for drivers and pedestrians as they drive across sidewalks and in and out of traffic,” the letter reads.

The school board said it hired traffic control specialists to help students cross safely and have since trained two of its own staff to do the job. 

Flynn said in the letter the board believes the traffic safety concerns were created by city-approved development projects which did not include the school crosswalk safety as part of their planning.

Council also voted to schedule a general meeting with the school board.

“We can do it before the end of the year I would hope. Tying schedules together is a little bit cumbersome, especially right now,” said Mayor Ed Mayne. 

A Springwood Elementary School student was struck at the intersection of Despard Avenue West and Moilliet Street South on Nov. 13 last year.

The intersection is not within a school zone, according to the city, but concerns were raised regarding the intersection and the school zone during a rezoning and traffic impact assessment prior to the incident. 

The study was in its review stage at the time of the accident and the city said the accident investigation will be included in any further considerations. 

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