During the month of September, Airdrie Municipal Enforcement (AME) and RCMP officers were out in full force, using both education and enforcement around school zone safety.

During the previous month, from September 1-23, officers attended all schools as part of Municipal Enforcement’s commitment to traffic safety. This included foot and vehicle patrols in or around the school grounds during morning, lunch and dismissal periods when most traffic and student activity is occurring. The goal of the AME team during the school zone safety blitz was to gain voluntary compliance with the public and use enforcement through tickets as a last resort.

“Although school zone safety is important throughout the year, September is an ideal time to engage with the community in these areas,” said Airdrie Municipal Enforcement Team Leader, Brian Rayner. “At the beginning of the school year, everyone is in learning mode which is helpful when the goal of our officers is to educate.”

AME officers logged 450 individual interactions with members of the public during that period. 19 violation tickets were issued for parking and driving violations in a school zone, with another 38 official warnings issued for similar offences. At local high schools, RCMP members conducted 78 patrols, and issued 10 warnings specific to driving behaviour and parking, while an additional 49 school zone speeding tickets were handed out.

While AME visited local elementary and junior high schools, their RCMP partners focused on high schools in the city. One important topic that was discussed many times, is the requirement to park 5 metres from a crosswalk. In school zones, especially during pick-up and drop-off periods, officers noted that it was common to see vehicles parked very close to crosswalks. This causes a significant safety issue as drivers cannot see pedestrians entering the crosswalk. Leaving a distance of 5 metres on either side of all crosswalks is the law and more importantly, allows for the visibility of pedestrians, especially those in a hurry to get to school.

“We want to thank the community for working with us to keep our school zones and students safe. We encourage you to chat with our officers if you encounter them in your day,” Rayner said. “They’re here to help and appreciate any opportunity to answer questions our residents have about the services we provide.”

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