Without a crossing guard, or even school crossing signs, since 2007, the road in front of Conestogo Public School will soon have both.
The school’s parent council, through its Conestogo pedestrian safety committee, has arranged to staff the crosswalk, and Woolwich council this week approved a temporary school crossing until the end of the year. The township is responsible for hiring crossing guards, and officially scratched the Conestogo location from its list in 2008 after trying for more than a year to hire someone for the job.
Concerned about the safety of some 40 children who cross Sawmill Road daily to attend classes, the parents’ group searched far and wide for crossing guards, eventually submitting four names to the township. A number of parents have also signed on to a roster to cover any shifts that need to be filled due to illness, for instance, explained Sherrie Cochrane, who lives opposite the school, which her three children attend.
“We feel very strongly that this position is important enough to put in a significant effort,” she told councillors Tuesday night.
With a crossing guard in place, the Region of Waterloo will replace the pavement markings and crossing signs removed in 2007. Although parents had been calling for the crosswalk to be reinstated, regional policy demands an adult supervisor be present if such markings are to go in, explained township clerk Christine Broughton.
A traffic study carried out recently indicated a crosswalk may not be warranted, but council agreed with parents’ safety concerns. The new crosswalk – the region is likely to put in temporary lines and signage – will be monitored for staffing and usage until the end of the year. If the numbers warrant, permanent measures may be put in place in time for the next school year.
Coun. Mark Bauman said the onus is on the Conestogo community to step up to provide staffing – “it needs to be consistent.”
The cost of staffing the crosswalk will be an estimated $3,800 a year.