Parents advocate for safety improvements along Port Mellon Highway

Parents are pushing for safety improvements on Port Mellon Highway.

The Langdale Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is applying for funding through a Vancouver Coastal Health Vision Zero Seed Grant Program to fund the installation of a crosswalk with flashing lights at the YMCA Road intersection, improve signage to reduce speeds or add walk/bike lanes along the highway.

At an Oct. 15 Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) transportation advisory committee meeting, directors voted to write a letter indicating their support for the initiative. School District No. 46 (SD46) is also advocating on behalf of the school.

The issue was raised initially by parents when the school district, in order to maintain physical distancing during the pandemic, stopped allowing courtesy riders on school buses. That rule has since been relaxed for the Langdale route when it’s possible for students to maintain safe distances on board, according to SD46 Secretary treasurer Nicholas Weswick.

SD46 trustee Sue Girard, who lives in the area and is a PAC representative for the school, said at an Oct. 14 school board meeting that the students who attend Langdale Elementary School and no longer qualify as courtesy riders, “have to cross that busy highway, and I can attest to the fact that it’s a crazy busy highway.”

A request has been sent to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) for improvements along the highway, according to an SD46 staff report.

RCMP were also asked by SD46 to review traffic flow and found “a small number of students” crossing the highway during the afternoons after school, and traffic speed wasn’t excessive, the staff report said.

Weswick said according to MOTI, the area doesn’t warrant a crosswalk at the location, but the board intends to advocate on behalf of the elementary school.

MOTI staff said the ministry is in the process of reviewing signage in the area.

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