WHEREAS municipalities are responsible for maintaining roadways under their jurisdiction; AND WHEREAS school boards are responsible and accountable for the safety of children attending their facilities;AND WHEREAS school boards have no funding, except for the Building Quality Restoration Program (BQRP) funding, that can be used to provide for staff parking, yellow bus parking, parent parking and student drop-off areas;AND WHEREAS the BQRP funding is utilized for the enhancement of the learning environment, the preservation of the school building and to ensure the children are safe within the school building prior to the allocation of any remaining funds for school parking and drop-off areas;AND WHEREAS the safety of children accessing schools is compromised by unsafe vehicular infrastructure;AND WHEREAS it is the policy of Alberta Infrastructure to bus children to school before building schools;AND WHEREAS municipalities and school boards are responsible and accountable for the safety of the children;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to provide funding to enhance the safety of school parking and student drop-off areas for yellow buses and parent vehicles.
Existing schools were built in areas where it was expected that children would be walking to school or taking a bus. With Albertas population growth, the growing school population and the tendency towards bus before you build, the original concept of how students would get to school and the curriculum at the schools has changed.Today, schools have had extensions built on and portable classrooms added on to the extensions. As the school footprint has been expanding the adjacent land available for staff parking, visitor parking, etc. has been reduced. In rural areas this has resulted in parents stopping and parking their cars along the roadside ditches on both sides of the road, in adjacent accesses, and driveways. This has reduced the width of some roads adjacent to rural schools so that only a single vehicle can move. Children disembark from their parents vehicles and pick their way through the parked cars, the slow moving cars, and buses just to get to school, causing concern for parents and drivers alike. Some rural schools are situated on highways where the posted speeds are 100 km/h. These situations are of particular concern due to the high speed of the through traffic, and vehicles trying to make left turns.Moreover programs at schools have changed during the last 30 years. Many schools now offer Academic Classes, Learning Disability Classes, Language Arts Specialization, Mathematics Specialization, Foreign Language Specialization, Music Specialization, and Religious Studies Specialization, etc. Some of these programs are offered before regularly scheduled classes and some after school.With the large enrolments, specialization programs, open boundaries, and the changing norms of society (parents do not let their children walk to school for a host of reasons) children arrive at school in a variety of ways: by riding their bicycles, driving their own cars, being dropped off by parents, being dropped off by yellow buses, being dropped off by local transit, etc. There are insufficient parking areas, parent drop-off areas, and yellow bus drop-off areas adjacent to schools constructed 30 years ago to accommodate this traffic. As a result there is 20 minutes of traffic congestion in the morning and afternoon at most Alberta schools today. Eventually, a serious incident may occur.Neither the school boards nor municipalities have the funding available to address this change in the way society today gets their children to school.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.