‘The city has to take greater value in the lives of our children’

Parents are worried about their children’s safety in dangerous school zones and want to see change.

Josh White
Kicker

 

In many schools across the St. John’s region, parents are worried about the growing issue of busy school zones.

Larry Foley has a child in Grade 2 at Roncalli Elementary in Airport Heights, and he has seen the issues first-hand.

“I’ve had too many close calls to even mention,” said Foley. “Either with my son or without him. People just don’t observe the crosswalk.”

During one close call, Foley said he had one foot on the crosswalk and held out his hand for the approaching car to stop.

“She rolled down the window and ridiculed me,” he said.

Danny Breen, mayor of St. John’s, says the city took over a program in order to help solve some of the chaos at the crosswalks.

“Many years ago we took over the crossing guard program at elementary schools when the province and the school district discontinued funding for it,” said Breen. “We now provide crossing guards in elementary school areas.”

Mayor Danny Breen says the city took over the crossing guard program in elementary schools to protect students. Issues around school zones and careless drivers remain. Josh White/Kicker

On the City of St. John’s website, the crossing guard program aims to make designated crossing locations at school zones a safe and controlled environment.

While Foley sees the work the city of St. John’s is doing, he still feels more should be done.

“I think the city has to take a greater look at putting in some physical things in order to slow people down,” said Foley. “The city has to take greater value in the lives of our children. It’s not just during school hours. There’s a lot of kids around there all the time.”

Breen says the city has put a great effort into improving school zones.

“Two years ago, we started reducing some of the speed limits in school zones,” says Breen. “There are digital signs that remind drivers of their speeds. We have also added driver feedback signs in all of the elementary school areas and we work with the RNC in order to target problematic areas to try and change driver behaviour and awareness in these areas.”

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