As students begin to return to school, the City of Hamilton is reminding residents about the importance of taking extra safety precautions during their commute and sharing some updates for back to school planning. Motorists Motorists are reminded to slow down and avoid distractions while driving in case a child darts out into the road. Using the phone, eating, or sipping coffee will affect your reaction time. Stop when approaching a school bus that is displaying flashing red lights and an extended stop arm. Traffic in both directions must stop while the bus loads or unloads passengers and may only continue when the lights stop flashing. Cyclists and Pedestrians All cyclists under the age of 18 years are required by law to wear a helmet while riding or operating a bicycle. Helmets are only protective if they fit snugly and are worn correctly. Pedestrians are reminded to put away electronic devices, cellphones and take out ear buds so they can easily hear and see approaching traffic. Pedestrians walking to and from school with friends are also reminded to keep a physical distance of at least two metres from others unless they are household members. Where keeping a physical distance is difficult, consider wearing a mask or face covering. School Zones As part of Vision Zero’s goal to eliminate serious injury and fatalities for all road users, the City of Hamilton is reducing speed limits on a neighbourhood basis as part of its three-year Neighbourhood Speed Limit Reduction strategy. Motorists are reminded that neighbourhood streets are reduced to 40 km/hr and school zones are reduced to 30 km/hr. Parents picking up or dropping off children are asked to follow all posted signage to avoid fines. Most school areas have No Stopping and No Parking zones that are to be kept clear for safe access by pedestrians, and to allow school buses or other school vehicles to safely unload student passengers. School Crossing Guards School crossing guards are positioned in school zones across the city to help students safely cross the street. Drivers and pedestrians should follow the directions of crossing guards at all times. By law, motorists must wait for the pedestrians and the crossing guard to reach the other side of the roadway before proceeding. If a school crossing guard is not at their usual location, call 905-546-2489 ext.2200 immediately. In the meantime, ask the school principal or teachers for assistance. The City is currently recruiting Crossing Guards to ensure that children are crossed safely at designated crossing locations. More details about recruitment can be found here. Parking Enforcement Hamilton Municipal Parking System (HMPS) will continue parking enforcement at one school per day with a focus on schools with a high number of parking complaints and safety issues between 2019 and 2020. HSR Beginning Wednesday, September 8, HSR will operate School Extras, in addition to regular service, for the public and Catholic school boards during school start and dismissal times. Morning and afternoon School Extra schedules have been revised to reflect the new bell times that were announced by many schools. For more information, please visit: https://www.hamilton.ca/hsr-bus-schedules-fares/schedule-routes-maps/pdf-bus-schedules. School Travel Planning Transportation Planning has been closely monitoring transportation data and movements across Hamilton and the GTHA to help support school re-openings from a transportation perspective. Transportation Planning works with colleagues from across the City to develop unique School Travel Plans for elementary schools. School travel plans focus on school infrastructure improvements, education, community mobilization, encouragement and engineering improvements around school sites. To date, 107 out of 134 elementary schools in Hamilton have school travel plans, and they continue to be updated. Transportation Planning will be promoting and taking part in International Walk to School Month (IWALK) in October. School Reopening With a return to in-person learning for local students in September, City of Hamilton Public Health Services will continue to work collaboratively with local school board partners to support the Ministry of Education’s recommended health and safety measures to help protect children and youth, education staff, schools and the broader community from the spread of COVID-19. This includes ongoing work with school board partners to coordinate school-based COVID-19 vaccine clinics before the end of the summer and in to the school year. All local vaccine clinic locations, including the school vaccination clinic options, can be found at Hamilton.ca/GetYourVaccine. It’s vital that community members 12 years of age or older before the end of 2021 get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible to protect those they love, and get back to what they love. To ensure this coming school year can be as normal as possible, increasing local vaccination coverage rates is the best way to provide strong protection for school communities from the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
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