The City of Charlottetown is urging motorists and pedestrians to be extra cautious over the next few months as the new school year gets underway.
With the recent school zone changes, a large influx of students is expected at schools that previously had lower enrollments. In some neighbourhoods, the rezoning translates to an additional 100-180 students travelling to school.
The City has launched a pilot project for the Fall to study the impact of the rezoning, including changes in traffic patterns, the increase in pedestrian traffic, and new routes for those walking to school. The goal will be to use the data collected to examine the placement of existing and future crosswalks, crossing guards, traffic calming measures and signage.
As part of this pilot, the City will be initiating an intersection flag system that other municipalities in Atlantic Canada have had success with. The flags are bright orange with reflective tape and located on either side of busy intersections in or near school zones. The person crossing the street is encouraged to hold an orange flag as they cross the road and return it to the container on the opposite side of the street for the next person who comes along. These flags will be available to pedestrians at the following intersections on a trial basis:
1) Sidmount/Highland Avenue and North River Road
2) Pine Drive and Popular Avenue
3) Walthen Drive and Gerald Street
4) Lower Malpeque Road and Salisbury Avenue
5) Spring Street/Rochford Street and Euston Street
6) Brows Lane/Duncan Heights and St. Peters Road
Pedestrians are also encouraged to continue to utilize hand signals when crossing the street, whether marked or unmark; by extending their arm in the direction they wish to walk as an added measure to notify motorists of their intentions.
Electronic signage will be placed around the City in the coming days to remind motorists to drive slow and use extra caution when approaching residential areas and school zones. Children are often excited for their first days of school and may be distracted. Motorists are also encouraged to leave for their destination a few minutes early to avoid the stress of potential delays and the temptation to rush.
Charlottetown Police Services will be doing information road checks in all city school zones for the first week of school in an effort to build awareness and assist the schools with a safe start. Officers will be handing out brochures and traffic calming information to motorists.
Anyone living in school zones in Charlottetown affected by zoning changes and/or traffic changes as a result of the rezoning is encouraged to provide feedback to the City regarding crosswalks, traffic calming measures, crossing guards and other ways to keep children safe as they travel to and from school. Written submissions can be provided, in person, at 199 Queen Street, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Suggestions can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to: PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE, C1A 7K2. Submissions can be sent at any time, but the pilot project is expected to wrap up within the first few months of school starting.
Information and feedback gathered during the pilot project will be reviewed by Charlottetown Police Services and Public Works.