Vancouver police monitor school zone traffic
Police officers monitor traffic speeds by Simon Fraser Elementary School on West 15th Avenue in Vancouver, British Columbia, Tuesday September 4, 2012. (Carmine Marinelli, 24 hours)
Expect the Vancouver Police Department to flag speeding or distracted drivers around schools for the next week as students returned to classes Tuesday, the detachment announced.
Chief Const. Jim Chu said a $196 fine will be levied on anyone caught over the limit in a school zone, and anyone speeding excessively faces vehicle impoundment.
Officers monitored areas around Mount Pleasant's Simon Fraser Elementary Tuesday morning in demonstration, armed with speed cameras and bright jackets to ensure a visible presence. Volunteer officers are expected around schools through Sept. 14.
"We all know what's at stake and why we care," Chu said. "School zones all throughout the city that were mostly vacant throughout the summer will soon be dotted with bobbing backpacks and running distractions."
He noted "school zones" are anywhere students use to go to and from classes and often include residential neighbourhoods outside of areas immediately adjacent to schools.
Vancouver School Board chair Patti Bacchus said many schools are not well designed for vehicle traffic, and asked parents to consider walking their children to school if possible.
"If you have to drive to school, and it's a congested area, stop a block or two away and walk in where there's less congestion around the school," she suggested.
"One of the biggest dangers, I saw, was other parents dropping their kids off in the morning. There would be the lineup of cars and it's very difficult to see the little ones trying to cross the road."
According to ICBC, 33 B.C. children, on average, are traffic fatalities each year.
The Crown insurer said both drivers and pedestrians can expect longer commutes and increased traffic levels and provided these tips.
For drivers, "Look for pedestrians, especially in parking lots and school zones, always yield to pedestrians . and be alert in intersections," said Jill Blacklock, an ICBC manager.
"Some tips for pedestrians: Look the driver in the eye and make sure they see you . take out headsets or any smart phones and put them away . and always use the designated crosswalk."