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School district plans engagement with City of Powell River for review of traffic conditions near elementary school

Pedestrian safety reviewed at board of education meeting
SAFETY CONCERNS: School District 47 will contact City of Powell River to look at traffic calming at the intersection of Massett Street and Selkirk Avenue, adjacent to Westview Elementary School.

School District 47 trustees will be asking City of Powell River to look at traffic calming measures around Westview Elementary School.

At the November 17 board of education meeting, secretary-treasurer Steve Hopkins said concerns had been brought forward around pedestrian safety around the school. He said staff members were asked to gather information and he indicated that in the agenda package, there was an outline from principal Shannon Behan highlighting parent and community concerns, with strategies that have been put in place, such as the crossing guard program.

Hopkins said during construction of the school, two different traffic studies were done. The first was done prior to construction and it looked at traffic numbers, flow and projected what traffic would look like at the school, said Hopkins. He added that the second study was also done pre-construction and looked at existing infrastructure and what improvements would be needed to have everything work safely for students.

“The main piece out of that was the push-button pedestrian traffic light on Joyce Avenue that was installed as part of the Westview Elementary School construction project,” said Hopkins. “That was part of the school district build and the school district paid for the installation.”

Hopkins said there is recognition that at the peak periods in the morning and late in the afternoon, there is way more traffic. He said every school is busy at those times of the day.

“Without question, the new school is an improvement on the older schools,” said Hopkins.

Trustee Brendan Behan said that at a previous meeting, he had brought forward concerns from parents about the intersection at Massett Street and Selkirk Avenue as being a high-risk area. He said because that is not school district property, he is hoping the school district can ask the city to look at doing something.

“There is a stop sign on Selkirk, but not on Massett,” said Behan. “Cars come around the corner and kids run across that corner. A kid is going to get hurt. It’s not our property but I think we need to at least ask the city about it. It’s time to address it.”

Trustee Doug Skinner said if the school district does ask the city about looking at the intersection, there can be discussion about the four-way stop put in at Egmont Street and Michigan Avenue adjacent to the École Côte-du-Soleil, the French school.

“That’s a four-way stop,” said Skinner. “If you are creating a four-way stop at Selkirk and Massett, would that solve the problem that you are thinking about?”

Behan moved that school district staff engage with city staff and request that they review traffic conditions in and around Westview Elementary School, specifically the corner of Massett and Selkirk, and request consideration for implementation of additional traffic calming strategies such as a crosswalk or a four-way stop. The board of education carried the motion.