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Safety improvements coming to Penticton school after student hit by vehicle

Short and long term improvements coming to Uplands Elementary

Safety improvements are being implemented after a student was struck while trying to cross to Uplands Elementary School.

The boy who was struck by a vehicle in late December is now recovering. However parents have stressed the urgency for safety improvements at the rural school on Middle Bench Road.

At Tuesday’s city meeting, staff will ask council to review the safety improvements being implemented at the school. The improvements will have no financial impact in 2022, but may have consequences in 2023 when infrastructure upgrades could take place.

After the student was hit, a meeting was held in January with city staff, school district staff, Uplands’ principal and a group of concerned parents.

The key concerns are an inadequate area for safe drop off and pick up, inadequate safe crossings, lack of protected pedestrian infrastructure adjacent to the school, including sidewalks and curbs.

Following the meeting city staff reviewed the concerns and saw that Uplands has the least amount of physical infrastructure because of its rural classification.

City staff are recommending some short term improvements to take place this year, including increasing bylaw enforcement, which has already started.

In advance of next winter, the city will remove the bollards along the south edge drop off zone for city crews to plow a wider width.

The school district will provide better signage about parking and bus zones, and Uplands staff will put out cones each day outlining the crosswalk.

In the long term, the city will consider adding infrastructure improvements at Uplands in the 2023 budget.

Concerns about safety and speeding in the school zone date back to 2014. The following year the city undertook a traffic calming initiative that included narrowing the street, installation of speed humps and speed reader boards, and creating a designated bus pick up and drop off area. Further work was done in 2018, including partial curb extensions to support the crossing.

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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