September 9, 2022
By Woodrow Kolomvos
This week marked the beginning of the school year for many Brampton residents and in lieu ofstudents returning to school, the city has announced this year’s Brampton School Traffic Safety Council (BSTSC).
The BSTSC is a committee made up of local members of the Brampton’s communities, as well as representatives from: Peel Regional Police, Brampton Fire and Emergency Services, Brampton Safe City, Student Transportation of Peel Region, Peel District School Board, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, City of Brampton Traffic Engineering Services, and City of Brampton By-law Enforcement.
The responsibility of the committee is to address issues related to school safety and pedestrian education, such as student pedestrian/traffic safety matters, school routes, school bus and bicycle safety, promoting safety awareness in schools, and reviewing existing and prospective new crossing guard areas. The committee is also responsible for coordinating with the appropriate city department to designate new school zones.
The council currently consists of community members: Wendell Cole, Renee Crone, Patrick Doran, Charles Gonsalves, Max Kazman, Mazhar Khan, Mohan Balasubramaniyam, Abdul Rashid, Pathik Shukla, Jashandeep Singh, Baljit Mand, Michael Gyovai, Zeenath Mahajan, Peel District School Board Trustee Kathy McDonald, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board Trustee Darryl D’Souza, and a City Councillor.
This year, the BSTSC is encouraging families with children returning to school to play their part in keeping students safe by obeying crossing guards, walking or biking to school to reduce traffic, understanding current laws and penalties for driving in school zones, and engaging with the BSTSC. The BSTSC also has resources for parents and teachers to implement walk-to-school programs for establishing safe routes for students to take when walking to school.
Residents interested in voicing their opinions and concerns about school safety to the committee can attend BSTSC meetings, which happen on the first Thursday of each month at City Hall starting at 9:30 am.
The Ontario Active School Travel (OAST) program encourages families to review the following safety tips for the start of the school year:
● Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
● Don’t walk distracted by playing on your phone while walking or having headphones on.
● When there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic in a single file.
● Meet a friend at the same time every day to walk together.
● At crosswalks with crossing signals, push the pedestrian button and wait until the signal shows that you can cross.
● Even when you are allowed to cross, always look both ways before crossing the street.
Peel Regional Police are also reminding motorists that the speed limit in school zones has been lowered from 40 km/h to 30 km/h, and police will also be out in force this week to crack down on speeding, distracted driving, seatbelts, and school bus enforcement in Brampton and Mississauga school zones. In addition to this, Peel Regional Police warned drivers that failing to come to a complete stop when the lights of a school bus are flashing could result in fines between $400 and $2,000 and six demerit points on their license.
On Twitter, Road Safety Services officers posted a series of videos outlining traffic laws and safety for commuters to keep in mind when traveling through or around school zones, where:
- Drivers must stop and yield the entire width of the roadway pedestrian crossovers. school crossings, and locations where there is a crossing guard.
- Do not park in NO PARKING zone; you cannot wait in your vehicle or leave your vehicle unattended.
- Do not stop in a NO STOPPING zone; these are areas where a stopped vehicle could obstruct the visibility of other drivers and pedestrians and increase the likelihood of a collision.
- Do not park or leave your vehicle unattended in the Kiss and Ride area.
- You must stop when the Crossing Guard has the stop sign in an upright position and remain stopped until the children and Crossing Guard have safely cleared the roadway.
- Motorists approaching a stopped school bus with red signal lights flashing must stop at least 20 metres before reaching the bus.
If you would like to learn more about how to keep students safe this school season, you can check out the City of Brampton’s official website here.