Glenmore school traffic danger
Oct 17, 2013 / 6:47 am
Updated 6:30 a.m. Oct. 17: Emails continue to come into us after our initial story (below) about parking and driving issues around Glenmore Elementary School. Here is the final letter we will post here.
Michelle Engel: I work at a daycare in the Glenmore area and I agree with all the comments made on castanet about the dangers around the school. Even 15 minutes after school is out, the parking on the streets is still hectic. When we walk back we have to walk around a lot of parked vehicles, and there is no sidewalk on the street to avoid the traffic. I do notice though that it's mostly parked vehicles - I worry more about the visibility than anything else. I personally would avoid driving in that area at all costs, but parents at the school and homeowners don't have a choice.
Not being from Glenmore (never working in that area, either), I had no idea traffic "calming" measures were already 'dealt with' at the school. My first thought was that a lot of improvement could be done.
To continue on with the conversation click here to go to our forum section on the topic.
Update 4:15 p.m.
Another neighbour and a local parent have come forward after our article below, taking aim at the new traffic measures claimed to be 'safe' by both the school and the city.
Glenmore Elementary School parent Teresa Balogh says the changes have made the area worse than it ever was.
"I live in Wilden and have been driving to Glenmore Elementary for the past 10 years. I have never felt as unsafe dropping off my kids at school as I do this year.
The new traffic calming measures have created many more traffic problems than they have solved, in my opinion (for all the reasons described by the neighbours in your article).
If the school district would provide a school bus option from North Glenmore, Magic Estates, and Dilworth areas, I am guessing most of these traffic woes would disappear."
Another neighbour who also lives on Carmels Cres. Tanya Culling says she feels trapped in her home during school drop off and pick up times.
"I agree with my neighbors, the side streets are terrible now. People park on both sides of Calmels Cr, where I live, so if you are trying to get out onto Mountain Ave and someone is turning onto our crescent to find parking you are head to head.
The fact that the principal says that it was just a matter of time before some child got hit on that lane is unreasonable, the school has been open for over 50 years, both my kids went to that school and no one as far as I can remember has ever been hit by a passing car in that lane.
There is a bigger chance of them getting hit now. The road is so narrow now that you can’t see parents and children crossing the street until they are right in front of your car, not to mention the doors now opening right beside you as you drive by them."
Update 12:52 p.m.
Neighbours around the area don't seem to agree with school and city officials who claim the new traffic safety measures are actually safer.
Just like the original neighbour who came forward to Castanet (Leonie Bennett), Steve Roberts who lives on Calmels Crescent says it’s caused more problems than it has fixed.
"This area is definitely NOT safer. I live on Calmels Cres. which has no sidewalks and I watch parents park their cars and proceed to walk up the middle of the road to get to the crosswalks to get across Mountain Ave.
I wrote to the traffic technicians and have had a couple conversations with them and I’m told that that is the best they can do.
My concern is that the school knew that this "traffic improvement" was going in plenty of time in advance, so why did the city not work with the school to make sure there was actually a pickup and drop off zone in place before proceeding to continue with the Mountain Ave. improvement.”
Leonie Bennett wrote into us again in response to this most recent article.
“We are residents that are deeply concerned that the situation has been shifted to our residential street and not school property, why can you not have a drop off area on school grounds?
We the residents of Kennedy Street have lived here for a long period of time and this area has not had the infrastructure put in place to accommodate the increase of traffic, meaning school traffic.
Perhaps the now closed lane way should have been properly policed by the school, this lane way has been open since the development of this area 50 years ago.”
Do you agree with Bennett and Roberts or are you a parent who sees the benefit of these changes? Let us know [email protected]
École Glenmore Elementary School students, parents, teachers and politicians celebrated the grand opening of their Safe Routes to School Project, Monday morning.
“Today is a celebration of a project that has been under way for eight years now, there was a committee formed by the local PAC here, of concerned parents, that wanted to get kids more active and using active transportation to get kids to and from school and now we are here,” says Mike Kittmer, Active Transportation Coordinator for the City of Kelowna.
The project included infrastructure changes around the school to improve the walkability and safety for students and the community.
“There are a lot of technical things involved in this project, but what it really comes down to is that we want kids to be more active and use active transportation as a means to work some healthy habits into their daily lives,” says Kittmer.
Over the last eight years, the École Glenmore Parent Advisory Council, it’s Cool Ways to School sub-committee, school administration, the School District and the City of Kelowna worked together on the “Safe Routes to School” project.
The final infrastructure changes in the Glenmore neighbourhood were completed for the start of the 2013 school year.
“From a school perspective they have been great, they have made our area much safer,” adds École Glenmore Elementary School Principal Des Sjoquist.
“The parents I’ve spoken to at the school love it. I’ve had maybe 40 parents over the year come specifically to me to say thank you this is a great change, and I’ve had two come to me and say you know, they don’t like it. So for the most part the overwhelming majority are supportive of the change,” says Sjoquist.
But not everyone is happy about the changes, including residents on Kennedy Street who wrote into Castanet about their concerns claiming they often feel trapped in their homes at the beginning and end of the school day.
Principal Sjoquist says they are trying their best to correct those issues.
“We are trying to help as much as we can. As with any change it takes time for parents to adjust their parking and driving habits so we do our best to educate parents. Slowly we hope that they will make those adjustments.
We are also working with bylaw enforcement and encouraging them to go out there and issue those tickets and warnings and remind people what the new rules are.”
City representative Kittmer agrees.
“The city is monitoring the changes, keeping an eye on things, seeing how the traffic patterns change and seeing if people do adjust and learn where they are actually supposed to drop off their kids.”
The closure of the back lane behind the school was a major sore point for a lot of neighbours but Principal Sjoquist says it was necessity for safety reasons.
“It was very hard for two cars to pass each other and it really was just a matter of time before someone was going to get killed by stepping out of the passenger side and getting hit. So that was an essential part for us to make sure that that is a safer place for kids to walk.”
“We want to be good neighbours, we want to work in partnership with everyone around us,” adds Sjoquist.
The majority of families are embracing the changes, including kindergarten student Connor Cleveland, who recently told his mom, “it’s so much more comfortable to walk to school because I don’t have to worry about getting hit.”
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