Traffic and the safety of our children is top of mind these days as we look ahead to the fall. Many more children (including very young children) are entering and exiting the school, greatly increasing the number of parents and caregivers arriving at the same time to deliver and/or collect their children.
At Blythwood P.S., there are dozens of vehicles arriving to drop-off and pick-up children every day. By driving our children all the way to school, we are contributing to dangerous traffic conditions – at times putting our children at risk.
Over the last few years we have conducted traffic surveys to solicit parent input on the current traffic situation at school. We asked for suggestions for improving safety/traffic flow and offered up ideas on how to improve things next year. We had excellent response. Many of you expressed concerns and frustrations around dangerous driving habits currently being exhibited by parents and caregivers at pick-up and drop-off.
In response to your overwhelming desire to establish a safer traffic environment around the school, we have outlined some safety guidelines we expect everyone will adopt this September.
We have also included many suggested alternatives to driving that will improve the flow of traffic at pick-up and drop-off. We ask you to remember that we are models for children’s behavior and must set a good example as pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle drivers.
Please review the traffic safety regulations outlined below.
Regulation: We strongly discourage parking in front of the school
In September, parking in front of the school will be strongly discouraged.
Stopping briefly to drop-off or pick-up a passenger is encouraged, similar to how traffic flows at an airport. If your child is not ready when you pull up, we ask you to circle the block or park on a side street and walk.
Waiting in a vehicle or leaving your vehicle unattended is NOT recommended. Parking greatly contributes to our double car-parking problem. Double parking is extremely dangerous and puts children at risk. It forces kids onto the road and makes them vulnerable to other cars trying to leave. It also obstructs the visibility of other drivers and pedestrians.
In order to prevent double car parking, we need to keep space in front of the school as clear as possible.
Regulation: Do not make “U” turns, back-up or make 3-point turns
This includes driving into residential or other driveways and then backing out, to change direction. It is difficult for drivers making a “U” turn or backing up to see small children crossing the street.
“U” turns can be confusing for children as they may not be able to anticipate such irregular vehicle movements.
Additionally, “U” turns and 3-point turns interrupt the flow of traffic and cause further congestion.
Regulation: Adhere to the proper flow of traffic
Please refer to the map on the next page to see proper traffic flow. Do not pick-up or drop-off children against the flow, forcing them to walk across the street. This practice is NOT safe and is an accident waiting to happen.
Regulation: Yield the right of way to pedestrians at all intersections and crosswalks
Cars must yield to pedestrians when they are walking on a roadway with no sidewalks. Drivers must also follow the directions of crossing guards when present.
Regulation: Do not pass a school bus with red lights flashing
When red lights are flashing on a stopped school bus, all traffic must stop and must not proceed until the bus has started moving again. This ensures that children getting on and off the school bus can do so safely.