BY BILL PHILLIPS
If you had any doubt school is back in session, a drive by College Heights Elementary School yesterday morning would allay those doubts.
It was arguably one of the busiest areas in the city, or at least as busy as any other school, with cars parked up and down the surround streets for blocks and children and parents all over the place.
There were some new faces at the College Heights school Wednesday as RCMP targeted the location with a speed trap, checking for motorists who don’t respect the 30km/h speed limit in school zones or the three-way stop at the corner of Cowart Road and Simon Fraser Avenue.
“We focus on drivers in and around school zones, playground zones, near school trying to educate the public through enforcement,” said Sgt. Matt LaBelle of the Prince George RCMP’s municipal traffic services section.
The majority of the school zones in the city are in effect from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and the speed limit is 30km/h in most of them. There are a couple zones which are a ‘school advisory’ area, which means you can maintain regular speed and there are a couple where the limit is reduced to 30km/h when children are on the road.
LaBelle added that the police are also urging parents dropping their children off and picking them up at schools to be considerate of the mini-traffic jams that can create.
“Schools have enough congestion going on around them with staff coming back, with students coming back and with students being present,” he said. “We really need to work together and try and alleviate all that congestion. It’s perfectly fine to drop your kids off a couple blocks away from the school and allow them to walk in … we don’t need to drop them as close to the doors as we can.”
In addition, if you are stopped in traffic where it is not safe to do so, you could be issued a ticket.
“Parents need to demonstrate safe driving skills and safe rules of the road with their children,” he said. “Don’t stop in the middle of traffic and have your kids run out into traffic to go to school.”
As for violators, those caught speeding in a school zone will be subject to a $196 fine, the first time. The fines increase the more a driver gets caught.