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School buses in Airdrie will not be required to use stop arms

By: Matt Durnan

  |  Posted: Thursday, May 08, 2014 10:48 am

City council voted not to change a bylaw that would require drivers to stop behind school buses when they are loading or unloading students, May 5.
City council voted not to change a bylaw that would require drivers to stop behind school buses when they are loading or unloading students, May 5.
FILE PHOTO/Rocky View Publishing

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School buses in Airdrie will not be required to use their flashing lights and stop arm when dropping off and picking up children in local neighbourhoods.

On May 5, City council voted against amending a public safety bylaw that would have mandated the use of the lights and stop arms within the city, citing potential traffic concerns and a heavy workload associated with the change.

Community Safety Team Leader Darryl Poburan presented the findings of a nearly five-month study to council, after council directed staff on Jan. 20 to investigate and review the use of the safety features on the buses within Airdrie’s urban areas.

“We consulted with First Student Canada (bus providers), Rocky View Schools and the Catholic School Board and we found that making these things mandatory would greatly impact traffic flow within the city,” said Poburan.

“When the buses use their lights and stop arms, no vehicle can pass them when they’re stopped and this would essentially mean that everyone on the road has to travel at the same speed as the bus.”

Poburan noted that the schools in Airdrie and the Alberta Traffic Safety Act have instilled a strong education system for children that has taught them the safest way to cross the road and implores the use of crosswalks whenever possible.

Bus drivers are permitted to use lights and stop arms when they are dropping off and picking up students outside of urban areas, on roads that do not have crosswalks.

Alderman Candice Kolson asked whether there were any other communities the size of Airdrie that had mandated the use of stop arms and lights in urban areas; Poburan informed the alderman that Chestermere uses that system.

Poburan advised council that changing the bylaw would be a lot of work and require a new road safety system to educate children when it comes to crossing roadways.

Alderman Kelly Hegg, whose background is in the education sector, spoke on the bylaw and his support for it as it stands.

“I agree with (Darryl’s) report, and as a school administrator, I know that children know what to do when it comes to crossing the street,” said Hegg.

“As long as we continue to stress safety as both educators and parents, we’ll hold ourselves in good stead.”

Council voted unanimously in favour of Poburan’s recommendation to keep the bylaw as it is.


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