Surrey RCMP and community partners helped Sunnyside Elementary launch its ‘walking school bus’ program Wednesday. (Contributed photo)

‘Walking school bus’ program initiated at Sunnyside Elementary

Congestion, police say, is an issue when it comes to student safety

Surrey RCMP and its community partners were at Sunnyside Elementary Wednesday morning to encourage parents to let their children walk to school.

Youth section RCMP Const. Karen Baker told Peace Arch News that the school has been selected by police due to the level of congestion in the area on weekday mornings and afternoons.

As part of the pilot project, the City of Surrey, RCMP and its community partners were encouraging parents to adopt a “walking school bus” program.

The RCMP and city’s Urban Forestry department created a “fairy lane” through Oliver Park, which is across the street from Sunnyside Elementary. The idea, Baker told PAN, is that parents drop their children off at Oliver Park and one parent could chaperone a small group of children to the school.

Baker told PAN that the RCMP has received multiple complaints related to congestion and unsafe driving that endangers children around Sunnyside.

Congestion, Baker said, leads to bad driving behaviour, which is the main focus of the walking school bus pilot project.

Officers and volunteers spent the morning in front of the school communicating to parents the importance of reducing congestion around the school zone.

Jason Haldane, who was walking his daughter to school, approached the police to express his gratitude and also tell them a story about a near-tragic incident in front of the school two weeks ago.

Haldane told Baker that his wife was walking their daughter to school and was almost struck “by some young punk” at the marked crosswalk.

“That intersection is horrible,” Haldane said, pointing to 28 Avenue and 159 Street. “It’s a huge issue for us.”

He said the design of the intersection results in vehicles blocking the marked crosswalk before they turn.

“About 90 per cent of them do it,” he said.

Haldane thanked Baker for raising awareness about the busy side street.

“The men and women in blue, you can’t beat it,” he said. “This presence, I love it. You get all of these people through here who don’t normally slow down, to slow down.”

 

Surrey RCMP and community partners helped Sunnyside Elementary launch its ‘walking school bus’ program Wednesday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Surrey RCMP and community partners helped Sunnyside Elementary launch its ‘walking school bus’ program Wednesday. (Contributed photo)

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