Representatives from community organizations gathered today at St. Davids Public School in Niagara-on-the-Lake 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.
In attendance today were Niagara-on-the-Lake Lord Mayor Betty Disero, Regional Councillor Gary Zalepa, Regional Councillor and Chair of the Public Works Committee Tim Rigby, Niagara Regional Police Service 2 District (Niagara Falls/Niagara-on-the-Lake) Commander, Inspector James McCaffery, Brett Sweeney of the District School Board of Niagara as well as representatives from the Niagara Student Transportation Services, St. Davids Ratepayers Association and St. Davids students 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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