Traffic a concern for Ralph McCall prompt visit from mayor
By: Allison Chorney
| Posted: Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 11:48 am
On April 14, Mayor Peter Brown put on the orange and yellow vest required for crosswalk patrollers at Ralph McCall School, and tried his hand at honorary crossing guard at the First Avenue location.
Though the stint made for a great photo opportunity it also highlighted a growing concern at the school as it makes the change from a kindergarten to Grade 6 school to a kindergarten to Grade 4 school in September.
“First Avenue is a very busy place from about 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. due to the fact that students from Ralph McCall and Our Lady Queen of Peace share similar bell times,” wrote Parent Council of Ralph McCall President Steve Goodall in a press release.
“Our patrollers have worked very closely with the AMA (Alberta Motor Association) and have had great success managing the safety of our students. However, Ralph McCall will become a K-4 school next year and the AMA will no longer be able to endorse our patroller program,” he wrote.
The main reason is the heavy traffic on the road is considered too much for Grade 4 students to safely patrol.
In an interview with Airdrie City View, Goodall said the issue with the traffic on First Avenue is only increased when the two schools bells ring and that the road is a busy one already because the communities of Woodside and Canals exit onto the road.
As a result, the school invited the mayor along with member of the Airdrie Traffic Advisory Committee and Rocky View Schools’ (RVS) Trustees Sylvia Eggerer and Todd Brand to assist the schools patrollers so they could see for themselves the traffic situation at the school.
“I really got a good understanding of the challenges they face,” Brown said.
The loss of endorsement from AMA has prompted Grade 6 students, with help from their teachers, to start a letter-writing campaign to the City of Airdrie to raise awareness about the traffic concerns and see if the City can help. The students will be writing the letters this week and hope to deliver them by early May.
Ideally, the students and school would like to see a pedestrian light installed at the location to make the crossing safer for students.
“We’re looking for options from the city right now,” Goodall said.
He said the visit from the mayor went really well.
“He was actually out with the students doing the patrolling so he got to see the levels of traffic.”
Ralph McCall principal Andera Craigie said the day the mayor visited it was actually a fairly light traffic day but she said all the guests did seem to think the traffic was rather heavy at the location.
Brown said he was shocked by not only the volume of cars but the distracted driving he witnessed.
“We also need to do a better job of educating our residents about the importance of following the rules at crosswalks and following the speed limit,” he said.
After trying his hand at patrolling Brown took some time to speak with the students and said the resounding message he heard was that simply adding a pedestrian crossing may not be enough because the kids said people are speeding and not stopping even when the patrollers are out there.
He said he and the RVS trustees will be meeting soon to discuss the issue further and the Traffic Advisory Committee is “on this” and looking for solutions.
“I’m not sure what the right action is but we are definitely working on it,” he said.
As for the school, it will be looking into solutions as well and may have to resort to having a teacher or parent volunteer monitor the crossing before and after school
“I think the message is being received,” Craigie said of the City’s response to the problem.