Boroughs should restrict heavy vehicle traffic in school zones, report finds

In a report released Tuesday, the public security committee makes a series of recommendations beyond increasing the amount of guards helping kids cross busy streets.

Public security commission examined ways to keep kids safe on their way to and from school

The number of Montreal crossing guards out helping children across the street has been capped at 520 for decades and the city's largest school board says that's 'unacceptable.' (CBC)

Montreal's public security committee says boroughs should restrict the flow of heavy municipal vehicles during school arrival and departure times to keep students safe.

The recommendation is one of 15 made by the committee in a report released Tuesday, after spending more than a month exploring student safety as they travel to and from school.

It says boroughs should limit the number of pick-up, garbage, snow-removal and delivery trucks circulating around schools while students are in transit.

Beyond limiting heavy vehicle traffic, the report recommends increasing the number of crossing guards stationed on city streets.

And to do that, the report says the current budget, which is managed by the police department, should be reviewed.

Citing the city's mission of improving cycling and pedestrian safety across Montreal, the committee also recommended Montreal officials examine the possibility of providing crossing guards during pedagogical days.

It says the city should ask Montreal police to work with experts to determine where guards are assigned.

It also calls on the police department to update municipal leaders annually on issues such as which intersections are supervised and the level of dangerousness of intersections in school zones.

City will look into increasing crossing guard budget

While the Plante administration is open to the idea of increasing the funding for crossing guards, talks of boosting the budget are still in the preliminary stage.

The official opposition says the fact that the report recommends "reviewing" the budget rather than increasing it is unacceptable.

The city's public security committee began a review of the crossing guard situation last month.

Montreal's largest school board told the committee that more guards are needed, pointing out the number has not increased in decades despite the school population's steady climb.

The CSDM has more than 9,000 more elementary school students than it did 10 years ago, but the number of street crossings with guards has remained steadfast at 520.

The school wants a 22 per cent increase in the number of school crossing guards to match the number of students.

With files from Radio-Canada


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