Parents say speeders on Whitehorse's 12th Avenue endanger kids

Some Porter Creek residents are speaking up, saying there have been too many accidents over the years and it's time to fix the problem.

'There's been numerous, numerous accidents,' says one Porter Creek resident

The crosswalk at 12th Avenue and Fir St. in Porter Creek, which children use to get to nearby Jack Hulland Elementary School. Some residents in the area say speeding is long-standing problem along 12th. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Though she'd seen it for years, Casey King wasn't making much of a stir about motorists speeding on 12th Avenue in Porter Creek, until a close call brought the problem home.

Her kids were at the crosswalk on Fir St. and 12th Avenue, waiting for traffic to slow down. 

"It did on the one side, and they started crossing and a car came speeding down 12th Avenue and had to honk its horn," said King. "It ended up sliding into a snowbank to avoid hitting my kids." 

That's when she decided to write the City of Whitehorse.

Casey King lives in Porter Creek and decided to speak up after her children were nearly hit by a car at a 12th Avenue crosswalk. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

She says she wants to see a school zone on 12th Avenue, near Jack Hulland Elementary School. 

"I do understand that it's not the city's policy to make a school zone on a street that isn't directly facing the school," she said. "But I think an exception should be made, considering the number of people that do have to cross 12th Avenue to get to school."

King has some other suggestions as well like: a reduced speed limit, speed bumps, or a digital reading so drivers can see how fast they're going. 

Whatever it is, she says, something has to happen soon.

"I have heard from other parents who also live on the other side of 12th Avenue, who drive their kids to school because they don't feel safe letting them cross," she said. 

Numerous accidents 

Kerri Scholz grew up on 12th Avenue, and says speeding has been an issue for decades. 

"It hasn't really gotten worse or better, that I can recall," she says. "There's been numerous, numerous accidents."

She says that in the late 1990s, her own daughter was nearly hit, but the car ended up colliding with a bus instead. 

Scholz says she spoke to the city and the RCMP about the issue, years ago — back when she was a member of the Jack Hulland Elementary School council.  

"That's why there's the two lighted crosswalks," she said. "But people get used to seeing them and just blow through anyways."

One parent says she raised her concerns about 12th Avenue years ago, when she was on the Jack Hulland Elementary School council. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Issue before the city

The city's street sign and traffic committee is considering the issue. 

Dave Pruden, the city's manager of bylaw services, says the city has considered some of the suggestions brought forward by local parents, like speedbumps, which he says can cause an impediment to snowclearing, and the possibility of adding a school zone, which he confirms isn't generally done on streets without schools. 

"It confuses motorists, so ultimately the better application in such instances —if it were deemed that 30 km/hour was the appropriate speed — is to put up 30 km/hour speed signs," he says.  

City-wide problem 

Pruden says 12th Avenue's speeding motorists are part of a bigger problem for the city.  

"Speeding is an issue within the city, period," he says. "Twelfth Avenue happens to be one of the locations we hear complaints about speeding."

He said other high-speeding areas include Mountainview Drive, Centennial Street in Porter Creek, Alsek Road in Riverdale, and several locations downtown. 

The city approved a "traffic calming toolkit" in last year's city budget to help address that issue. Pruden says it will allow the city to put up non-permanent road features — such as temporary speed humps — on local roadways to monitor their effectiveness.

He says he hopes to have a request for proposals out by the end of month, and anticipates introducing the kit this summer. 

Another city official tells CBC that the city's policy is to contact whomever brings a traffic concern forward to its street sign and traffic committee.

CBC News has asked police for information on traffic incidents along 12th Avenue. RCMP says they're following up on the request. 

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