Representatives from community organizations gathered today at Twenty Valley Public School in the Town of Lincoln for an event to celebrate the creation of a Community Safety Zone at the school. Road safety measures like Community Safety Zones help children walk or bicycle to and from school safely.
The event also marked October being International Walk to School Month. International Walk to School Month (IWALK) is an annual mass celebration of active transportation taking place around the world every October. Niagara Region is committed to promoting active school travel as it helps create healthier students, healthier communities and safer school zones. It is an accessible and affordable way to incorporate physical activity into daily lives. In honour of the new community safety zone and to mark IWALK month, the school planted a native deciduous tree to mark this special occasion.
In attendance today were the Town of Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton, Regional Councillor Robert Foster, Niagara Region Director of Transportation Services Carolyn Ryall, Staff Sergeant Todd Waselovich of the Niagara Regional Police Service, Twenty Valley Public School Principal Sara Dedivitiis, District School Board of Niagara Superintendent of Education (Area 3) John Dickson, as well as Pamela Haire, Community Outreach on behalf of MPP Sam Oosterhoff and representatives from the Niagara Student Transportation Services and Twenty Valley Public School students, parents and staff.
The goal of community safety zones is to modify driver behaviour and improve safety on specific sections of roads within the Niagara region. Niagara Region launched the first two Community Safety Zones on Regional Roads in September at St. Davids and also Twenty Valley Public School on Regional Rd. 24 (Victoria Ave.) from Frederick Ave. to Regional Rd. 81 (King St.) in the Town of Lincoln.
The Community Safety Zone signs went up the first day of school, Niagara Regional Police Service conducted an educational campaign from Sept. 3 to 15, followed by enforcement starting the week of Sept. 16, 2019. Community Safety Zones let motorists know they are within a zone where the Highway Traffic Act has been modified to double the legislated penalty provisions for moving violations.
About Community Safety Zones
Community Safety Zones are intended to modify driver behaviour including reducing speed and distracted driving, and improve safety on certain sections of road where public safety is of special concern.
Community Safety Zone signs are posted at the limits of the zone with "Begins" and "Ends" tabs, clearly defining the legal limits of the zone. The rules of the road do not change within the zone, only the penalties for violations are increased.
Site selection includes locations which have safety concerns or complaints near sensitive areas such as schools, retirement homes and daycares. The following items help to prioritize site location selections:
Niagara Region implemented these first two Community Safety Zone locations (which were approved by Niagara Region Council in July, 2019) beginning Sept. 2019. Regional staff will report back to Council at the end of 2019 with recommendations on possible additional locations for Community Safety Zones on Regional Roads throughout Niagara.
Niagara Region is working in partnership on Community Safety Zones with Niagara Student Transportation Services, District School Board of Niagara, Niagara Region Public Health and Niagara Regional Police Services.
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