Concerned parents want to see improvements to traffic safety outside Hans Helgesen Elementary School in Metchosin. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Concerned parents want to see improvements to traffic safety outside Hans Helgesen Elementary School in Metchosin. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Metchosin parents call for improved traffic safety at Hans Helgesen Elementary

Planned meeting between mayor and SD62 chair aims to find solution

Metchosin parents are overcoming road blocks, as they push for better traffic safety measures outside Hans Helgesen Elementary School.

Resident Morgan Bley, who has been part of the elementary school’s Parent Advisory Council for six years, spoke at the Feb. 1 council meeting on behalf of her family, and other worried parents about the issue.

“We are bringing to council our deepest concern that another year is passing without the improvements to road safety that we really need to see in that structure of Rocky Point Road,” said Bley.

She warned council of high congestion, speeding issues, and cars moving in every direction. She highlighted a personal story, where her toddler ran out of her grip along the busy road, but was luckily not hit.

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“My heart stopped. People were honking. It was a horrible moment,” Bley said. “It’s very anxiety producing to have small children in tow, and to worry that someone is going to get confused with all the different directions people are giving.”

She read multiple statements from other parents, saying the ongoing issue has yet to see resolution.

“We have one community school, it defies logic that it should be so complicated to get better safety measures put in place,” read one statement. “There are simply not enough highly visible safety implements in place.”

Another parent, Kristen Lewis, told council she was struck by a vehicle in September along Rocky Point Road right in front of the school. Her vehicle was parked along the side of the road opposite of Hans Helgesen, and she was hit shortly after she loaded her children into her vehicle.

“I faced my vehicle, waiting for vehicles to pass before I opened my door, and was hit broad side on the shoulder and crushed into the side of my car,” said Lewis. “I screamed, my two sons screamed.”

Coun. Sharie Epp said a speed radar sign from elsewhere in Metchosin will be moved to Hans Helgesen. Epp also put in a request for two light up “slow down” signs to be added to each side of the road in the school zone.

A meeting is also expected between Metchosin Mayor John Ranns, Sooke School District Chair Ravi Parmar, and District CEO Lisa Urlacher. No date has been determined.

Parmar noted that during the pandemic, more parents are driving their children to school, so that could result in more traffic throughout school zones.

“I am thankful for the parents who raised the issue,” he said. “School zones and traffic is not a isolated challenge at Hans Helgesen, but all across the province. This is a good reminder for people to drive responsibly when using the road, in a school zone or not.”

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