salmon arm observer, june 22, 2012

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June 22, 2012 edition of the Salmon Arm Observer

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    Your Classified Connection / Vol. 23 No. 25 Friday, June 22, 2012

    A3

    # More than 150 people signed a petition calling for safety improvements to Cottonwood Street to assist children crossing over to Haldane Elemen-tary and Chase Secondary.

    Near-misses spark safety petition

    A Chase mother is taking a stand for the safety of her children after witnessing too many close calls on a local school road.

    Sick of worrying, Dalana Wil-liams recently organized a petition to get the crosswalks in a local school zone painted a request, she hopes, will be considered by village coun-cil.

    While Williams doesnt consider herself to be much of a complainer, she recently decided something had to be done about the hazardous road that has not one, but two local schools located on it.

    Williams didnt want to make a big fuss, but says she couldnt sit

    back anymore.I didnt want to be one of those

    people who just sit back silently and gets nothing done. I do not normally do things like this, and I have never made a petition, but this is important to me. I have four kids that go to, or will be going to, the school.

    Cottonwood Street is approxi-mately one kilometre long with one side almost completely taken up by Haldane Elementary and Chase Sec-ondary schools.

    The road is narrow and has no sidewalks. The road itself doesnt even have a centre line.

    The elementary school lacks suf-ficient parent parking, so parents are forced to park their vehicles along the side of the road when picking up or dropping off, leaving little room

    for children to walk. The parked cars also block the children from being seen by oncoming traffic, forcing them to peer out and walk out onto the road in order to be noticed.

    There are two faded and barely visible crosswalks located at either end of the road.

    One is located directly on a corner, which is frequently busy during school hours. Children must cross Cedar Avenue to get to the crosswalk to cross Cottonwood.

    According to Patrick Regush, the villages public works supervisor, the old crosswalks have not been re-painted in years because they have been deemed unsafe. No word was given on why new crosswalks were not created upon deciding the old ones were hazardous.

    Regush visited Cottonwood Street on June 20 with Joni Heinrich, vil-lage administrator, to examine the site.

    Neither Regush nor Heinrich think making a centre line down the road will make a difference to how people drive. In a letter to Williams, Hein-rich explained that they witnessed vehicles doing U-turns along the road. However, they do not believe lines painted on the road will deter people from these types of actions.

    Regush also pointed out that white lines are painted on the sides of the road to give children a place to walk safely. These spots, however, are taken up by parents vehicles. This area, according to the letter, is not

    Chase: Residents seek improvements for children crossing road to school.By Cavelle LayesMARKET NEWS STAFF

    See Village on page 2

    CAVELLE LAYES/MARKET NEWS

  • A2 www.saobserver.net Friday, June 22, 2012 Shuswap Market News

    meant for this type of use.

    Regush does not think re-painting the lines will keep people from park-ing there, but instead encourage it.

    But, Williams says, almost daily people can stand by the road and watch as one vehicle will stop to allow a child to cross, only to have the vehicle behind pull around thinking they are simply stopping to drop off a child.

    There have been many near accidents, she says.

    She describes how she stands in her drive-way, which is located almost directly in front of the school, and watches each morning as her oldest daughter heads to the elementa-ry.

    There are days when she would stand on the side of the road for 10 minutes waiting for someone to stop and let her cross. Eventually I had to go and help her.

    It is really sad to me, says Williams. I dont want to have to walk her to school ev-eryday until she is 10, especially if we live right across the street.

    I do not care if there is a crosswalk right in front of my house, as long as the kids have

    somewhere safe they can go.

    Williams began the petition for new cross-walks after she logged into Facebook earlier this month to rant about her frustration with the road. She didnt expect anything to come out of it, she was just blowing off steam.

    Up until then she had never heard anyone else complain about the dan-gers of Cottonwood, but within an hour many local moms had re-sponded with their own, equally frustrated, thoughts.

    That is when I de-cided to make the peti-tion, said Williams, after I found out there were many more like me.

    She called the village office, where she was advised to write a letter.

    I wrote the letter that night.

    She put the letter on Facebook and asked parents for their input before dropping her pe-tition off at the local movie store, located in Chases downtown area.

    I didnt go door-to-door with it or anything like that, said Wil-liams.

    Within days, her peti-tion had already gath-ered almost 150 signa-tures, and she submitted it to the village.

    Despite many parents

    requesting that side-walks be added, Wil-liams decided not to in-clude it in her letter.

    Sidewalks are ex-pensive. I figured while there may not be a bud-get for sidewalks, there may be some for a little road paint.

    Williams has also at-tended local PAC meet-ings where, she discov-ered, there were even more parents concerned about road safety.

    There was talk that if a sidewalk is put in we might be able to get a crossing guard, says Williams. We could adapt what other schools have done and get a Grade 7 student released a little early to help out kids, or we could try for parent volunteers, she explains.

    These are things we will need to work out with the school.

    For now Williams is just hoping that the road gets new crosswalks and a centre line.

    I dont expect it this school year, but hope-fully by September.

    Chase Mayor Ron Anderson was not avail-able for comment, but Heinrich did acknowl-edge that the letter was received.

    The village would like to do a lot of major upgrades on the road, says Heinrich who agrees that Williams re-quests are perfectly rea-

    sonable, but says these upgrades are not in the budget.

    Williams has since re-ceived a letter indicating the village is proposing two new crosswalks be-tween the schools.

    One is where the school buses pull in to drop children off and the other is by the en-trance to the elementary school.

    Heinrich also provid-ed a very rough esti-mate of $5,000 to paint the new crosswalks on the road.

    When asked if the crosswalks could be created by September, she responded, I dont see why not. It depends on if we have the money and if we can find a contractor to do it, or even if we can do it our-selves.

    Heinrich, who lives on the road herself, agrees that Williams re-quests are definitely needed.

    The letter along with the petition will be pre-sented to Chase council at their next meeting on June 26, which is open to the public.

    Until then, staff are gathering as much in-formation as possible, including price quotes, so a decision can be made that night. Wil-liams was also invited to join Regush to discuss the issues further and share ideas.

    Village to consider improvementsContinued from front

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