As students made their way back to school for the 2021/22 academic year on Tuesday (Sept. 7), School District 23 hosted a school zone awareness event outside of Kelowna’s Springvalley Middle and Elementary schools to promote traffic safety.
In collaboration with the City of Kelowna and Kelowna RCMP, pylons were set up and crosswalk guards wearing safety vests were on site to help people cross the road and bring visual awareness to the school zone.
“I’m hoping that what (motorists) do is think again before they drive through a school zone,” said Dan Glasscock, the traffic safety officer for the school district and the City of Kelowna.
“Just be a little more aware, more respectful and more patient.”
It was the first time that a traffic safety event has been hosted outside of the two schools, which are both located on Ziprick Road. The road is situated between Highway 33 and Springfield Road, which Glasscock said is one of the school district’s higher speed areas.
“It’s a nice straight shot. People think they can really move down these roads,” he said.
“We’re just trying to bring awareness that school’s starting and we need people to slow down, be more respectful of one another and watch for our kids because they’re not watching for themselves sometimes.”
He added that Kelowna has a problem when it comes to motorists speeding in school zones.
“We’ve been fortunate not to have any traffic-related, serious incidents,” he said. “We’ve had a few — last year, we had one in the Glenmore area where a kid got grazed by a car going through an intersection.”
He attributed the general sense of hurriedness on the road to the lack of care when driving in school zones.
“There’s distracted driving and the distraction makes them miss the school zones. Honest to God, I think it’s just forgetfulness,” he said.
“I just hope for a good school year and that nobody gets hurt. That’s all I care about.”
School zones are in effect every day from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a posted speed limit of 30 km/h Monday to Friday, unless otherwise posted.