Ottawa

Crossing guards giving parents, students peace of mind

Parents and students in Ottawa said they were pleased to see more crossing guards on duty as the school year got underway Tuesday morning. 

Guards on duty at 10 more intersections in Ottawa this fall

David Doell said he's seen drivers proceed through the intersection as he's helping kids cross the street. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

Parents and students in Ottawa said they were pleased to see more crossing guards on duty as the school year got underway Tuesday morning. 

Outside Connaught Public School in Hintonburg, parent Zoe Lomer said the crossing guards give her peace of mind.

"I think it's essential. I mean without it, I would be quite nervous," Lomer said. "There's so much traffic, and on a busy morning like today, trying to take control of that busy intersection, it's tough. I really appreciate them being there."

Student Amimata Touray said the guards make her feel safer, too. 

"I think that's good because if no crossing guard was there, people won't know [traffic is coming], so that's actually good because they're keeping you safe."

More crossing guards 'comforting' for parents, safety official says

2 years ago
1:05
Kelly Banks, program manager for school zone safety with the Ottawa Safety Council, says the presence of crossing guards makes parents feel better about letting their kids walk to school. 1:05

10 more intersections

Adult crossing guards were on duty at 10 more intersections Tuesday morning, in addition to another 15 added earlier this year.

The crossing guard program is funded by the city and administered by the Ottawa Safety Council. Kelly Banks, program manager for school safety with the council, said the guards are currently at 233 locations across Ottawa, and there's demand for more.

"The city's growing, new neighbourhoods, new schools are being built," said Banks, who believes it's important for children who can walk to school to be encouraged.

"Walking to school is really good for children. It gives them their daily exercise. It also helps them concentrate better once they're in class to have that fresh air in the morning and it helps them learn about how to get around their neighbourhood."

The Ottawa Safety Council's Kelly Banks said the demand for adult crossing guards continues to grow. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

Protecting the vulnerable

David Doell, one of the guards on duty outside Connaught Public School on Tuesday, said he's witnessed some dangerous situations in the year or so he's been a crossing guard.

"We're protecting some of the most vulnerable people in society," Doell said. "We also get to teach the kids how to properly cross the street, even if there is no crossing guard."

Crossing guards are now posted at the following 10 intersections:

  • Bank Street at Fifth Avenue
  • Haig Drive at Russell Road
  • Halton Terrace at Pepperidge Way
  • Innes Road at Bearbrook
  • Kilbirnie Drive at Ashbourne Cres.
  • Olmstead Street at Levis Avenue
  • Pleasant Park Road at St. Laurent Boulevard
  • River Run Avenue at Riverboat Heights
  • Scott Street at Island Park Drive
  • Stonehaven Drive at Grassy Plains Drive

Police in both Ottawa and Gatineau are also keeping an eye on school zones this month, watching for drivers who ignore crossing guards or stopped school buses.

Ottawa police said between 2013 and 2017, there were 858 collisions in school zones or involving school buses, resulting in 213 injuries. There were no fatalities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Krystalle Ramlakhan is a multi-platform journalist with CBC Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I., Winnipeg and Iqaluit.

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