Someone Needs a Timeout for Their Approach to School Crosswalk Safety

School CrosswalkI pick up my grand daughters one afternoon a week at their rural elementary school. The kindergarten classes march out in line and wait patiently while their teacher identifies each child's caregiver and dismisses them individually. They now join the free for all to walk to the vehicles parked in the area and go home.

I try to show up at least 10 minutes before the dismissal bell so that I have time to park properly and walk to the spot where I wait for the girls. Of course, given my background in traffic policing, I find myself noticing the bad behaviour of some of the drivers during this short jaunt.

What bothers me most is the disregard for the marked crosswalks leading into the schoolyard. Vehicles park on both sides of the road, bumpers to the edge of the paint. Some drivers even take advantage of the open space and park right on top of it.

Two weeks ago I was walking by at the same time as a woman parked on the crosswalk and exited her car. I could not resist and observed that she knew she was not supposed to park like there, right? She just looked at me and kept walking.

Road maintenance has deteriorated here too. In the 2012 Google Street View of these crosswalks they are both painted and signs indicating their presence are posted.

Today, the signs are still present but the closest crosswalk in the picture has been left to deteriorate while the far one has been repainted.

There are two documents that the provincial government uses to uniformly mark school crosswalks, the Manual of Standard Traffic Signs & Pavement Markings and the Pedestrian Crossing Control Manual for BC. Both mandate the use of the School Crosswalk marking signs but are contradictory of the need for a No Passing tab on the School Zone signs.

The Motor Vehicle Act tells drivers that they must not park on top of or within 6 meters of the approach side of a crosswalk.

Confusion may exist about the painted crosswalk that has been left to deteriorate on it's own. Does a driver ignore it? Should a pedestrian use it? It's there, marked or not, but faded paint may suggest to drivers that they don't have to obey.

Perhaps the Ministry and some drivers need a time out for their approach to safety at these school crosswalks.

What I do admire are the drivers who proceed slowly and carefully through all of this. They stop and wait patiently at the newer of the two crosswalks and no doubt anticipate that short children are going to appear suddenly from in front of the vehicles obstructing the crosswalk.

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Amen to Crosswalks!

And you know what else bothers me is the parents that park in no parking zones. Or Fire lanes. Some of the School buses have to still navigate these now narrower than average pass ways as the parents feel entitled to park there. It really bothers me how entitled the parents feel as they park there and in Crosswalks. All of our kids have to get home safely, please help by keeping the road ways clear for ALL youth, NOT just yours!!!

Fire Hydrants Too

If you grab the image with your mouse and rotate it to look to the right, you will also see the fire hydrant that is solidly blocked too.

To confuse, or not to confuse?

Confusion may exist about the painted crosswalk that has been left to deteriorate on it's own. Does a driver ignore it? Should a pedestrian use it? If it is not wanted it should be removed completely to head off potential problems.

Why bother removing something that's going to fade away on its own - at which time, nothing will have actually changed, as I see it.

The thing is, a crosswalk doesn't have to be painted or sign posted (the majority are not). Typically, traffic engineers will keep track of their useage, and if there are more than 20 pedestrians per hour then they'll get out the paint and mark that crosswalk. (I don't know if that's an averaged number, or if they make their calculations at peak periods such as when school gets out.)

It appears that the road edges there meet the definition of being sidewalks, even if drivers sometimes choose to park on them:

sidewalk means the area between the curb and lines or lateral lines of a roadway and the adjacent property lines improved for the use of pedestrians

That being the case, there are three crosswalks connecting the sidewalks at that T-intersection, and that's regardless of what's been painted or posted, so theoretically it should make little difference to driver behaviour. Obviously, parking within 6 meters of the approach is illegal, being as it's illegal to park within 6 meters of a crosswalk or intersection anyway in BC, according to the information in "Learn to Drive Smart".

Meanwhile, regarding the case in point: surely the local municipality has police officers, and bylaws officers, etc? And yet, that selfish lady you mentioned seemed happy to park in the crosswalk. So the authorities aren't doing their job. Methinks it's time the school board made arrangements with both the police services and the local tow truck company to both ticket and impound any illegally parked vehicles, for the sake of safety.

I Should Have Thought of That

Yes, that crosswalk exists, paint or no paint, and I should have figured that one out on my own. Thanks for pointing it out and I've edited the original article for clarity.

It's Chaotic

While I have no grandchildren at school in this area, I observe that it seems to be rather chaotic when parents or caregivers are dropping off or picking up children.

Might it be that everyone is so "busy" that they don't allow enough time to get children there in the morning and must pick them up as quickly as possible to get on to the next "event" in their all "too busy" chosen life style?

Possibly some of the well worn X-Walks are being left to wear away pending the change over to the proven more safe "bar strips" transverse the vehicle lanes. That said, a School Zone is such a critical area to be concerned about safety there should be no ambiguity and transgressions should attract a penalty sufficient that the driver will get a message not likely to be forgotten.

Perhaps our current contractor Mainroad should be requested by the School Boards to review and correct to the government standards.

Not Suprising - Using the Handicapped Parking Spot

It's an interesting problem when a parent parks on the crosswalk. I have a similar story. Daily, I brought my (Alzheimer's) afflicted mother-in-law to get grade 4 grand daughter after school. Always, another parent took the handicapped parking. The principal began chasing those drivers away.

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