Additional no-parking zones coming near Victoria Harbour school

·3 min read

Parents or grandparents dropping off kids at Tay Shores Public School are being told to 'kiss-and-ride' with new parking changes coming to Jephson Street.

The township is increasing the no-parking zone on the school street to reduce traffic hazard in the area, according to a staff report brought forward at a recent council committee meeting.

The issue, wrote Rob Kennedy, municipal law enforcement officer, in an email to MidlandToday, was addressed a few years ago by adding a no-parking area along the east side of Jephson Street (on the same side as the school).

"Over time there have been additional issues noted by staff and parents; vehicles parking on the opposite side of the road also cause traffic hazards," he added. "COVID-19 has also resulted in less students taking buses, as well as more guidelines/rules around picking up/dropping off. This additional area for no parking will decongest the area and minimize the traffic hazards around the school."

The additional no-parking area on Jephson Street (across from the school) will stretch from Martha to McDowell Streets. The changes will restrict parking in that area, from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on weekdays, from Sept. 1 - June 30. The restrictions will exclude holidays.

Some councillors seemed to think this was a school board issue and should be addressed by them accordingly.

Coun. Barry Norris wanted staff to reach out to Simcoe County District School Board and ask them to create a kiss-and-ride zone off the street.

According to Kennedy's email, municipal roads are the township's responsibility and it's up to the municipality to ensure they are safe for both pedestrians and motorists.

"We will be engaging the school board in conversation about possible solutions to the parking concerns brought forward by residents, council and parents," he added.

In response to a request for comment by MidlandToday, Simcoe County District School Board spokeswoman Sarah Kekewich said the safety of students and staff is very important to the board.

"We are committed to working with our school communities and municipalities to develop strategies that will minimize traffic and increase safety during the busy drop-off and pick-up times, as it is a shared responsibility," she said. "Township staff have been in touch with school board staff and will be meeting to discuss possible solutions."

Wherever possible, students within walking distance are encouraged to walk or wheel to school, Kekewich added.

"We are working closely with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) on an Active School Travel campaign that has been designed to educate students and families about the benefits of walking and wheeling to school. Walking or wheeling to school reduces traffic, helps students establish healthy lifestyles, is better for the environment and enhances community safety."

Once council ratifies the bylaw on March 24, staff will install signs in the area to notify the public of the new no-parking area.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com