Parents sending their children to North Saanich’s KELSET Elementary School and nearby residents have until May 23 to complete a survey on proposed safety improvements.
The appeal by the municipality to parents and residents comes after the release of a draft traffic safety study. The municipality had commissioned the study after receiving a letter from School District 63 expressing concern about traffic safety in the area and requesting improvements.
The survey found at connectnorthsaanich.ca will ask for feedback on four topics: a crosswalk at Haro Park Terrace; parking on Forest Park Drive near the school; the school’s parking lot loop and bus loading area; and traffic calming.
The report itself finds that congestion on Forest Park Drive to the be biggest traffic safety issue, an opinion which 99 per cent of surveyed parents and 74 per cent of surveyed local residents share. The second major issue concerns speed on Forest Park Drive as identified by 47 per cent of surveyed local residents and 42 per cent of parents.
If parents and residents appear to agree on the problems, their priorities diverge when it comes to proposed improvements. Whereas local residents consider traffic calming to ensure compliance with the road’s speed limit of 30 km/h the most important improvement, parents consider a crosswalk at the intersection of Haro Park Terrace and Forest Park Drive the top priority. Changes to parking restrictions were the least important option for both groups.
This said, the report finds “broad consensus” that the school’s existing parking arrangements do not work. According to the report, the existing parking lot, which also serves as a loop for school buses, has created significant conflict. “(Some) parents temporarily park in the school bus zone, which makes it more challenging for the bus to pull over,” it reads.
The report found “no significant speeding” during school hours in the mornings and in the afternoons on Forest Park Drive, but speeds exceeded the 30 km/h posted limit by 10 km/h on weekdays during non-peak travel times. “Overall, the speed data does not indicate a significant speed issue on this section of Forest Park Drive,” it reads.
The report also found there were conflicting signs along Forest Park Drive near the school.
The area is signed as a 30 km/h zone, a school zone, and a playground zone, the report notes.
“This may result in driver confusion, as school zones are only in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days, drivers may believe the speed limit is 50 km/h outside of those hours. The same applies to the playground zones, which are in effect from dawn to dusk. There is also a second westbound school zone sign that is non-standard.”
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