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Kingston, Ont. parents react to school safety report crafted to prevent further tragedy

Click to play video: 'Parents react to school zone safety recommendations'
Parents react to school zone safety recommendations
After a fatal collision outside Mother Theresa Catholic School that claimed the life of a ten-year-old girl, Kingston City Council passed a motion to develop a School Safety Pedestrian Working Group. Parents weigh in on the safety recommendations. – Jun 15, 2022

After a fatal collision outside Mother Theresa Catholic School claimed the life of 10-year-old Xóchitl Rivera, Kingston City Council passed a motion to develop a School Safety Pedestrian Working Group.

Rivera died on Jan. 31 as a result of “a collision between a Chevy Silverado pickup truck on Lancaster Drive and the student as a pedestrian crossing the road,”  Kingston police said.

The working group is made up of parents, city staff, city counsellors and school board members and on Wednesday evening, Limestone School Board trustees will hear safety recommendations from the group. the The report will also go to the Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic school board and City Council.

Read more: Kingston, Ont. community mourns for 10-year-old student killed in fatal collision

“Something needs to be done and it makes me glad that it’s finally getting looked at in this neighbourhood, said parent Shauna Slobodian as she dropped her child off at school.

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“The four-way stops, while they’re great and the new stop signs that have gone in are helping, they’re not slowing the traffic as much as it needs to be in a residential area.”

In April a crossing guard was added to the school community on Lancaster Drive but the working group is suggesting more needs to be put in place, like police presence and enforcement and photo radar, as well as increased fines for parking infractions.

Read more: City of Kingston hopes working group will make school crossings safer

Parents Global News spoke to agree.

“Police presence would be nice from time to time to make sure nobody is speeding here,” said Martin Sames.

Flowers and notes still sit on the fence in front of Mother Theresa Catholic School near the spot where the 10-year old girl was struck and killed while crossing the street.

“As someone who crosses this street twice a day, every day with our kids it (getting hit by a car) could happen to anybody,” said Michelle Branscombe.

Many parents say they live on the other side of Woodbine Road and cross through the Holy Cross Secondary School yard to get to the elementary schools, crossing exactly where the fatal collision happened in January.

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Click to play video: 'Kingston, Ont. community mourns for 10-year-old student in fatal collision'
Kingston, Ont. community mourns for 10-year-old student in fatal collision

Many stressed how they would like to see the addition of lights or a second crossing guard directly in front of the schools.

“The crosswalk has helped with the crossing guard there, but it’s really not that helpful for people coming from Catherine Street and the Woodbine neighbourhood,” said Branscombe. “It’s really a detour for us to walk from that area.”

It’s suggested that the safety recommendations include increasing community zones and beefing up police enforcement and surveillance.

The report also includes road safety education initiatives. The plan is to roll out the recommendations this fall as a pilot project while implementing them at other city schools in 2023.

– with a file from Global News’ Megan King

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