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Puslinch working to ease congestion and improve safety around Aberfoyle Public School

New parking rules will be in effect and a crossing guard is being considered for the area
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Parents have expressed concern for children's safety while crossing Brock Road in Aberfoyle after school. Keegan Kozolanka/GuelphToday file photo

PUSLINCH – The Township of Puslinch is looking at ways to improve safety and ease congestion around Aberfoyle Public School. 

Council heard from a delegation on Wednesday who asked for the municipality to look into hiring a crossing guard for the Brock Road and Old Brock Road intersection near the elementary school. 

Meghan DiMatteo, who has two children who go to the school, presented Puslinch council with a petition for the township to provide a crossing guard in time for the next school year. 

The online petition has almost 400 signatures and DiMatteo said she had 45 in-person signatures supporting this. 

She explained new parking rules around the school allowing buses better access entering and leaving the school and safer drop-off and pick-up.

To ease congestion, parents are using the Puslinch Community Centre parking lot, meaning increased foot traffic crossing busy Brock Road.

There is a pedestrian signal at this intersection but DiMatteo said many parents had stories of close calls with fast-moving traffic at this “dangerous intersection.”

“Parents have observed vehicles speeding, running red lights and turning right onto Brock Road from Old Brock Road in front of families trying to cross,” the petition reads.

“Traffic moves so quickly across this busy road,” Kelly Hodgson wrote as a reason for signing the petition. “This is a highway our children are trying to cross without a crossing guard!”

DiMatteo acknowledged sometimes the traffic problems arise from parents turning off Old Brock Road after picking-up their children from school and noted other signers have also indicated it is a serious safety concern as large trucks frequent this road due to the proximity to the 401.

She said they have examined finding volunteers through the school community but this presents liability issues and is therefore the responsibility of the township to provide a crossing guard.

Council was largely on board with the plan, with Coun. Jessica Goyda noting this would encourage more parents to use the community centre parking lot and further help efforts to ease congestion around the school. 

Mayor James Seeley clarified this intersection is actually one of their safer ones but it could use more enhancement. He said the county will be painting pedestrian crossing stripes.

Council directed staff to prepare a report on the feasibility and process of finding a crossing guard.

Later in the meeting, council discussed further parking restrictions. Bylaw officer Ivan Lunevski had a report permitting some parking on Cockburn Street and Old Brock Road around the school.

Seeley said drop-off is a concern and he had some ideas from conversations with the school principal and some parents about how to address this.

He suggested no parking be permitted on Cockburn and to only allow permit school bus parking along the sidewalk on the north side of Old Brock Road. This would further encourage use of the community centre parking lot for drop-off and pick-up.

He also noted a small drop-off only zone would be a good idea to implement. 

Lunevski clarified a drop-off zone can’t officially be enforced and technically no parking sign areas can be considered as drop-off areas.

“As long as they are engaged in active loading or unloading, they’re not in violation,” Lunevski said.

Seeley shifted to wanting no stopping area during school bus hours to ease the congestion.

Council approved the updated parking rules around Aberfoyle Public Schools.