Solution to traffic problem at school in works

School district, regional district and city determine solution to traffic safety issues outside of Nanaimo District Secondary School

A safer way for Nanaimo District Secondary School students to cross Wakesiah Avenue to and from the bus stop may be in the works.

Last fall, trustees asked staff to investigate ways to improve student safety in this high-traffic area.

While there is a crosswalk in the area, it is up the street from the bus stop and the vast majority of students don’t use it if they are heading to the bus, choosing to simply cross the street in a direct line to the stop instead of using the crosswalk and then doubling back to the bus stop.

Meanwhile, Wakesiah is also a major artery for vehicle traffic.

Pete Sabo, the district’s director of planning and operations, told trustees at Wednesday’s business committee meeting that staff from the city and regional district got together and determined a solution to the problem that the school community is happy with.

The plan involves moving the crosswalk to the other side of Foster Street, widening and improving the bus stop, shifting the bus stop farther south, a raised median to keep cars from passing buses, putting up fencing to discourage pedestrians from walking down the school’s driveway and creating a new path from the front door of the school to the crosswalk that is a more direct route for students.

“I definitely think it will improve the situation,” said Gordon Foy, a transportation engineer with the city.

He said the bus stop, crosswalk and sidewalk improvements, to be shared between the city and the regional district, as the former is responsible for roads work and the latter is responsible for transit, will likely cost about $30,000.

Sabo said the district will be responsible for the portion of the project on the NDSS property and staff have earmarked $30,000 from a special fund used for renovations and repairs to district facilities to complete the work.

“We expect, all going well, we would do [the work] in the summer,” he said.