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Wheels rolling on Safe Journeys to School

Terms of reference for joint public steering committee approved

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 01, 2014 06:00 am

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The terms of reference for St. Albert’s Safe Journeys to School joint public steering committee got a green light from council on Monday night.

Council previously approved guiding principles for the project in December. The next step was the terms of reference which were approved by council Monday, which forms the steering committee and lays out the scope of the project, which will see a review from a consulting firm on infrastructure and activities that impact student safety on their way to school.

A news release from the city said there will be a request for expressions of interest for community members who would like to join the steering committee, as well as preliminary steps in finding a consulting firm to provide the review.

“It’s no secret that this is an issue of keen importance in our community,” said Coun. Tim Osborne during the council meeting.

While council passed the terms of reference, it wasn’t without some tweaking. Osborne moved to amend the terms of reference so that the purpose reads “To provide guidance for the Safe Journeys to School Project (the Project) intended to identify opportunities to enhance safety for students getting to and from schools in St. Albert.”

The original purpose had “walking and bicycling to and from schools.” Osborne wanted to expand the focus from that to cover all students’ methods of getting to school.

Coun. Sheena Hughes wanted to know if the school sites to be examined included the two new ones planned for Erin Ridge and Erin Ridge North. They weren’t, but city manager Patrick Draper said they could be included.

“From my thinking, if we haven’t built a school yet, now is the time to (address traffic safety),” said Coun. Cam MacKay. The report will now include the 26 current school sites and the two planned sites.

Membership of the committee will include one member of council, one member of each relevant school board, one member of RCMP as available, up to six public members at large and the relevant city general managers.

The public members are to be past or present parent advisory council members, parents with significant executive board or committee experience or residents with professional or other related experience in transportation or student safety.

The joint steering committee is set to guide the project, the scope of which will look at more than just engineering, including enforcement, education, traffic data, encouragement, best practice research, traffic calming measures and potential inclusion of the “smart city” initiatives.

The report should come back to council by September 2014.

Safe Journeys to School will be funded from the automated traffic enforcement technology reserve, which gets the money from the speed on green enforcement revenue. The project’s budget is $200,000.

“For me this is the exact opportunity to use those reserve funds,” Osborne said.

“Unfortunately there’s that many people running red lights that this kind of money gets built (up),” said mayor Nolan Crouse.


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