October 4, 2017

A California School Crossing So Dangerous They Won't Hire a Safety Guard~and a Vancouver School Crossing They Won't Do Because it Slows Traffic.

This story from NBC San Diego shows how far motordom continues to dominate, even when there are youngsters trying to walk to school. In Solana Beach North County California, a busy intersection has been  “deemed too dangerous even for crossing guards, leaving parents alarmed.” 
Officials at Skyline Elementary removed paid crossing guards by the 1-5 freeway exits on Loma Santa Fe because “the intersection was too hazardous and difficult to navigate.”
Getting rid of the crossing guard gives no other path for children walking or biking  to school to cross Interstate 5 without crossing freeway exits. The choices: Drive your kids or let them try crossing without an adult crossing guard. Parents being parents and thoughtful individuals, they have come up with some solutions to the problem, like getting a volunteer adult to assist at the intersection. They are also lobbying to prohibit right turns at some of the red lights to make the crossing easier and more understandable for children.
Meanwhile in Vancouver Denise Ryan in the Vancouver Sun reports on the independent school Stratford Hall located east of Commercial Drive between 14th and 16th Avenues. There are 500 kids, the drop-off for children is on Commercial Drive, and the kids cross the street to use Clark Park.  This is a bendy section of Commercial Drive, and despite the school asking for a school zone to be located here to slow drivers, the City has continually nixed the request. Why? The City of Vancouver in a written statement says “because Commercial Drive is an arterial road, “installing a 30-km/h school zone proves difficult,” and that “speed humps and other traffic-calming measures are not feasible options for arterials and collectors,” in part because of the impact it could have on “operations of a variety of key services, including buses and emergency-response vehicles.”
Last time I checked this was a four lane road at this location, and every driver knows to pull over if they hear an emergency siren. Somehow I think bus schedules can also be adjusted to provide a safe crossing for kids in a two stretch block. It’s the 21st century~time to recognize that there are some schools on arterials and those kids deserve just as safe a crossing to school as does everyone else. It’s the exception that should be made for the safety and comfort of kids.
Thankfully a motivated group of  “Grade 5 and 10s at Stratford Hall has taken on the task of researching and gathering data to try to effect change as part of their governance studies. They’ve partnered with their school liaison officer, Const. Cheryl Leggett, to document traffic flow and safety, and, with the help of a donor, and a substantial discount from the Anson traffic group, rented an electronic traffic-speed reader so they can build a substantive, data-driven case to bring to the city.” 
And what does the school want? They want simple improvements, such as overhead lighting for the cross walk at 15th Avenue, and to have the stretch of street designated a 30-km/h zone. Is this really too much to ask for? Do we really need to trigger the ICBC warrant system by having someone die or be seriously injured at this site to get a change? A sustainable green city means taking care of the most vulnerable. That includes children crossing safely across the street to their school.
Kids fight for traffic safety

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  2. Victoria Drive has 30 km/hr zones along it’s route including the stretch at John Hendry Park and the Trout Lake Community Centre just a few blocks east.
    A pedestrian activated crossing light with flashing lights is exactly what’s needed at Commercial and 14th-16th.
    This stretch is notorious for vehicles speeding and cutting-in as it changes from 2 travelling lanes to 1 or 1 to 2 depending on the direction of traffic flow.
    Stratford Hall is also being forced to fundraise by the Vancouver Park Board and the COV to improve the playground site at Clark Park that’s closest to their bldg.
    The excuse from the VPB/COV is that the existing playground was already updated so there is no reason to do more yet we see time and again that when motivated the VPB/COV always manage to find monies squirreled away in some account when it comes to greasing off COV/VPB insiders.

  3. The city answer was not complete enough
    1/ as always, one need to prioritize resource and energy toward where we get the greater bang for the buck…and when come pedestrian safety here is the picture (map of accidents involving a pedestrian):
    Notice, there are public elementary schools at some of the city most dangerous intersection for pedestrian which are according to a city report Joyce#Kingsway and Clark#Broadway …Many other public elementary schools are in area more prone to accident than Stratford Hall, and city should address pedestrian safety there first.
    2/ simple things advocated in this post, such as erecting 30km/h speed sign seems reasonable and the city did that on Hasting …against the advice of the VPD and Translink:
    5 years, and as many pedestrian fatalities. later, that policy has proven to be totally inefficient, and understandably the city doesn’t want to repeat this mistake:

    Translink can adjust schedule said Sandy James: there is something like 300 runs of the 20. One added mn on a run, it is 5h additional operating hour a day: another bus driver to put on payroll and another bus to purchase store…all that has a cost and need to be justified by demonstratively addressing a real problem, and not just a perceived one

    3/ It is not to say there is nothing to be done on Commercial, Commercial#Broadway mess needs to be addressed (as well as 12th#Commercial, this one get 2 pedestrian fatalities in the last 10 year or so), but all this should be done in the context of the transport 2040 plan, where the street becomes more bike friendly while bus movement are markedly improved at the same time, (and that can even involve local limitation at 30km/h by street design, rather than signage: the only way a 30km/h zone can work as intended, what many zealot of 30km/h speed limit don’t seem to understand, and it is those whose has served us the hasting street failure)
    All that will enable to reduce the modal share of the automobile and in fine improve the safety of everyone.
    At the end, since Desmond Blek posted a selective picture of a school in a Rotterdam, new suburban division. Below is another picture of some Rotterdam schools (there are several one in the picture (10 Beukelsdijk):
    the street speed limit is 50km/h, and no distracting overhead sign above crosswalks…
    no need for that, because they get the street design quite right

  4. This post reminds me of the parable of the scorpion and the frog. You can’t change the nature of the beast. Motorists bully – inadvertently, and on purpose.
    Whether the beast is a bull in a china shop, or a boy racer, is immaterial. The consequences are violence: motoring mahem, grievous bodily injury, and murder. The term ‘road violence’ is odd.
    Put a spoiled brat in a Lambo on the Lions Gate and you have a deadly combo. Someone who will brag about his exploits. There should be a registry for traffic offenders such as this, as there is for other dangerous offenders; not a tsk tsking and brief suspension of the dubious privilege of driving. If you are rich enough to buy a Lambo, you can afford to be chauffered everywhere. Maybe to a race track where you can indulge in your thrill-seeking without killing and maiming innocents.
    The motoring mentality is so much like the gun obsession south of the border with its daily consequences.

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