New traffic light at Riverside Public School is providing a sense of relief: principal

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When sending your children to school, safety is something no parent should ever have to worry about. And the addition of a traffic light at Riverside Public School will help ease concerns for both parents and staff members alike.

One of the key reasons for adding the lights is that both students and staff often cross Brunel Road from the school in order to get to the 20-acre wilderness property owned by the TLDSB (Trillium Lakelands District School Board).

The initial concern was student safety because we regularly use the property across the road and Brunel is often busy with traffic travelling at higher speeds” said Riverside Public School principal Marylou Lefler, “We had a few very close calls with drivers not slowing down or stopping despite orange-vested staff stopping traffic for the students.”

A discussion with staff and parent council led to a letter being written to the District of Muskoka asking for a crosswalk to support their concerns.

 Mark Misko, director of transportation and engineering for the District of Muskoka, communicated with Riverside secretary Melaney Morrow to discuss the need, which culminated in making the crossing light a reality.

The new addition will be used daily to cross the road for outdoor learning, phys ed, cross country running, special family events, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and more.

Students and staff at Huntsville Public School also regularly access the wilderness property, and it is also used by members of the Riverside community after-hours for outdoor adventure.

 “Kids know that they need to move quickly across at the lights and definitely understand street safety,” said Lefler, “It makes it safer for the drivers too as the lights are clearly marked and student crossings are easily identified. Twenty to thirty seconds in length to cross is ample for a class and not a long period of time for cars to wait…win/win for everyone,” she added.

The response from students, parents, and staff at Riverside has been very positive and they are all pleased with the outcome, and say they feel much safer when crossing the road.

“The lights have allowed us to feel that the staff and students can cross safely throughout the day.  There is a sense of relief. We appreciate the District working with us to make this happen.” said Lefler.

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