A group of students and parents has taken traffic safety into their own hands.
Handcrafted, brightly decorated signs in both English and French went up Tuesday morning asking drivers to lower their speeds in the École La-Belle-Cloche school zone.
The move doubled as a call on the province to install a flashing beacon, radar speed sign or other means of making the zone more noticeable, something parents have been asking for all school year.
“(Installing our signs) is out of desperation at this point,” said parent committee chairwoman Meredith Tremblay.
“Our efforts have been to get additional visual cues ... The problem with the speeding on the highway is that folks are missing the sign and don’t necessarily know they’re in a school zone.”
Tremblay said parents began noticing the high speeds after students and staff moved into the new school last April. However, as tourism season approaches, more traffic adds to the problem.
Tremblay said the committee and individual parents have sent letters and emails to MLAs, as well as to both the former Liberal and current PC transportation ministers.
“What’s frustrating about it is we don’t get any response,” said Tremblay, adding that only one MLA has ever replied and it was to confirm they received the email.
Although there was no written acknowledgement, Tremblay said parents noticed the department did go out and re-locate the school zone signage so they were more visible.
However, the effort seems to have made little impact on speeds.
“It’s to a point where people are passing in front of the zone,” said Tremblay. “When I slow down to pick up my child, people get annoyed.”
The zone is 60 km/h from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. The school has about 96 students this year, and about 110 set to attend next year.
Melissa MacDonald, a member of the parent committee with two children in the school, said although the department also changed some road markings and RCMP have been in the area to watch for speeders, the problem has persisted.
“We appreciate they did make some changes … but we’ve found it’s not been enough,” said MacDonald. “We had to take things a step further so everyone is aware of the issue.
“We want to be proactive.”
Both Tremblay and MacDonald said the kids had fun making the signs and woke up bright and early to help put them up.
“It was great to get the kids involved because it’s something they’re aware of,” said MacDonald, adding parents noticed a reduction in speeds after putting up the homemade signs. “We’ve noticed quite a difference … the signs have drawn attention.”
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