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Safety Susie takes another hit at Parkway Elementary

Parkway Elementary’s plywood crossing guard, Safety Susie, is once again out of service thanks to a hit-and-run driver.
Prinicipal Kelly Jones of Parkway Elementary with what remains of Safety Susie

Parkway Elementary’s plywood crossing guard, Safety Susie, is once again out of service thanks to a hit-and-run driver.

“I think it happened (Monday) between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. but unfortunately nobody saw who did it, we just saw her lying on the road in pieces,” said school principal Kelly Jones shortly after the incident.

“I don’t know how fast the person was going but she is split right at her chest and at her waist and of course the piping is busted as well.

“I’m losing count. But this has got to be the fourth or fifth time,” Jones said about the number of times Safety Susie and the other wooden guard have been hit.

Susie still has a number of bolts and screws from the last repair job, and her male counterpart, who alerts drivers on the east side of the crossing, is permanently confined to a wheelchair and wears a neck brace from his previous accidents.

More seriously, several years ago a female student crossing guard was injured when the driver of a vehicle misjudged his turning radius and ran over her feet.

At that point the human crossing guard program was cancelled and the plywood replacements took over on the front lines.

“This is really disappointing to have this happen again and although it’s hard to say how fast they were going, obviously they weren’t paying attention,” said  Jones.

“You shouldn’t be hitting something in the middle of a crosswalk if you’re paying attention. If this is the fifth time, we’ve only had one person actually stop and own up to it.”

The school has had an ongoing problem with speeding and careless drivers and only this year had a speed-reader board installed.

Along with the reader board, Jones asked city council to consider speed bumps and delineators which slow traffic by narrowing the road width.

Because he believed council was going ahead with both measures, Jones was using plastic warning cones as temporary delineators, but did not do so Monday after learning only the speed bumps were being installed.

“So I thought OK, I’m not going to keep putting out pylons because that will skew the results if they want to find out if speed bumps alone will work,” he said.

“So low and behold, somebody sped through and hit our girl. So maybe this shows they do need the pylons.”

Rather than putting in all the items at once, city staff is following a suggestion made by Coun. Wes Hopkin at a September meeting when council endorsed the plan.

Hopkin said if all the work was done at once, the city wouldn’t know if it was the speed humps or the road narrowing that was effective.

“We looked at it and said, ‘Yes, we can do that,’” Mitch Moroziuk, city director of operations, said Monday. “The speed humps will be going in soon, then the delineators will follow. They just have to be screwed into the road.”

Speed humps will be going in at three locations: the crosswalk and the entrances to the school zones.

“We’re going to want to let it run for a month and see what happens before taking the next step,” said Moroziuk. “We’re going to monitor it and see how it works.”

Moroziuk’s response to the destruction of the wooden crossing marker was simply that was the reason the city was implementing this project.

If the temporary delineators are effective permanent ones will be installed and considered for other school zones with chronic speeding problems.

For his part, Jones is just hoping to find a solution to the problem although he does feel the use of delineators has an added bonus.

“They also prevent people from parking in those no-parking areas that block your vision of the crosswalks,” he said.

“I’m a little disappointed they’re not going ahead with both but if speed bumps work and it does slow people down then that’s great.”

He had planned to report the latest incident to the RCMP as well.

That section of Kinney Avenue is a popular alternative route for motorists accessing or exiting the Channel Parkway at Warren Avenue West.

The school speed zone of 30 kilometres per hour is in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days.

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