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School Zones a hot topic at council meeting

They want to make the community a safer place to be. A delegation of concerned citizens, including Niamh Menz and St.

They want to make the community a safer place to be.
A delegation of concerned citizens, including Niamh Menz and St. Augustine School principal Carol McLaren, approached Humboldt city council on June 27 to discuss putting in school zones by the schools in the city.
Safety of the students crossing Hwy. 5 has become a growing concern to parents and teachers of St. Augustine.
"We've always had concerns with safety," said McLaren.
Menz and McLaren decided to approach council with their concerns after Menz witnessed an accident at the traffic lights located by St. Augustine.
"There are very serious concerns for safety," said Menz.
She made a few suggestions to council, such as zebra strips, longer amber lights at the existing traffic lights, more signage, amber lights warning motorists of a school ahead and putting in school zones.
"Maybe we could have a school zone reduced speed," said McLaren. "I'm sure there would not be a problem if it would save someone's life."
"I think the first discussion is always focused on speed limit," said Eaton.
He explained that although school zones are important, there are other things that can be done as well.
"We need a multi-faceted approach and are pleased to hear (you have) other ideas as well," said Eaton.
Eaton suggested they do research on school zones and if they were to put school zones in Humboldt to consider making them like the ones in Saskatoon.
"In Saskatoon, they are 30 kilometres an hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, the rest of the time 50 kilometres an hour," said Eaton.
The other major factor Menz pointed out was the lack of signage leading up to the school.
"There are no signs coming from Dairy Queen to St. Augustine about a school up ahead," said Menz. "One idea is to replace those signs that were removed last summer."
Menz was also concerned with the leaning signal pole and branches from trees covering signs.
Another concern McLaren brought forward was semi-trucks driving past the school on a regular basis.
"Maybe the semis should be going around," said McLaren.
Eaton said council has concerns with semis travelling through the city and have been discussing creating a truck route for these larger vehicles.
City engineer Joe Doxey explained the city is planning some updates, including a few of Menz's suggestions, such as signage, cutting branches and straightening the leaning signal pole.
"There will be some changes coming," said Doxey.
They are planning some changes that will hopefully be put in place before the school year starts in the fall.
Eaton urged that parents and teachers contact the RCMP if they see traffic violations near the schools.
"The police will respond if you contact them --they can't if we don't help," said Eaton.
Council explained there are not just traffic issues near the schools.
"We are all aware that we have growing traffic issues," said Eaton.
They are not only dealing with traffic issues caused by vehicles, but also with pedestrian and bike traffic in the city.
"Jaywalking has become a huge issue," said Eaton.
He hopes that programs put on by Safe Communities will help curb some of these issues with school-aged children.
Council appreciated the delegation expressing their safety concerns at the meeting.
"We would like to have a town hall type meeting with the public about this," said Eaton.
He said that type of meeting would help open dialogue and give all the schools in the city a voice.
"We are pleased to hear from you and hear your concerns," said Eaton.