Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Traffic woes at schools 'universal complaint'

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TRAFFIC can be a nightmare around every school in the Winnipeg School Division.

No, not just the speeders who treat a school zone as a freeway -- it's caused primarily by parents dropping off and picking up their kids. There's often nowhere to park, no loop in front of the main doors and nowhere for kids to get in and out of cars easily and safely.

"It was a universal complaint about every school," said trustee Mark Wasyliw, but "no two schools are similar."

Earlier this year, trustee Mike Babinsky requested a staff report on traffic problems around Meadows West School, near Keewatin Street in northwest Winnipeg. Wasyliw had already heard and seen lots of problems in southern schools, so he got board support to amend Babinsky's request to cover every school in the division.

The results were staggering -- not one school reported itself free of traffic problems, said Wasyliw. "This is the No. 1 issue that is universal in every school.

"No one realized this is a large and difficult issue," he said. "The transportation department is reviewing it with each and every school."

Residents complain about cars parked and stopping all over the area of Kelvin High School, he said.

J.B. Mitchell in River Heights is kitty-corner to St. Jean Brebeuf School, a Catholic school, creating double the chaos. At Robert H. Smith School, also in River Heights, residents park on the street, forcing parents to double- and triple-park, often letting their kids out of the car straight into traffic.

"Grosvenor's fast," Wasyliw said. "They're (Grosvenor School) worried about putting grades 4 and 5 out as crossing guards."

Several schools are asking for adult crossing guards, which adds to the division's budget dilemma, said Wasyliw.

"We're looking at possibly doing staggered bell times," to ease congestion, and so buses could pick up and drop off kids for more than one school.

Many older schools have no area in which parents can pull in, Wasyliw said. "Bus loops and cutouts, they're 100 grand each. We have 13 schools (that) want them."

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 18, 2012 0

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