Penticton moving towards safer plans for school zones

Safer ways to get to school

The City of Penticton is planning new traffic safety measures and programs aimed at making life safer for kids in the community.

Two ‘Safe Routes to School’ studies at Carmi Elementary and Uplands Elementary were recently conducted, and the results presented to city council for approval of suggested next steps.

For Uplands, this includes installing additional sidewalks on Middle Bench Road, and installing centre line delineators on the Westminster Avenue East corridor by the school, plus improved crossings.

At Carmi Elementary, the city is reportedly "in the process of designing changes to the Manitoba Street corridor."

Given that the school will be closed as part of the upcoming school district shakeup, which will see students transferred to the new KVR Elementary, plans are in flux. But many of the suggested traffic safety improvements will still be put in place, the city says, as they will be "relevant for both schools and the broader neighbourhood."

Also, school zones will soon be 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with signs to that effect being put in place by the end of the summer.

“Throughout the summer, and in the evenings and weekends, we see kids at the fields or playgrounds past the typical school zone hours. We want to keep our kids safe – and reducing speeds to 30 km/h is one of the steps we can take to slow drivers through these zones where children are playing,” said Kristen Dixon, general manager of infrastructure, in a press release issued Wednesday.

The city will now be conducting studies at Columbia and the future Skaha Elementary.

"This work aligns with goals identified in the city’s Transportation Master Plan, which seeks to create a safe transportation system that supports all ages, abilities and modes of transportation. It’s also an important step to achieve the targets set within the Community Climate Action Plan, which strives to reduce vehicle emissions," reads the city press release.

"And thirdly, this project meets three of council’s strategic priorities: supporting a safe and resilient environment, a livable and accessible city, and a vibrant and connected community."

For full results of the first two traffic safety studies, click here.

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