James Hill PAC battling bad drivers

James Hill Elementary PAC president Mike Tookey stands in the road near the school, where vehicles have been known to speed by at up to 80 or 100 km/h. - Dan Ferguson / Langley Times
James Hill Elementary PAC president Mike Tookey stands in the road near the school, where vehicles have been known to speed by at up to 80 or 100 km/h.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson / Langley Times

Mike Tookey won’t say exactly how the driver of the over-sized pickup truck responded when the president of the James Hill Elementary School Parent Advisory Council (PAC) told him off for speeding through the 30 km/h speed zone on 222 Street near Old Yale Road.

“He was rude,” is all Tookey will disclose, adding the confrontation ended more or less peacefully with the offending motorist driving off in a huff.

The incident happened in late January, when Tookey followed the truck after witnessing it tearing down the street past the park that adjoins the school, doing what appeared to the professional firefighter to be between 80 and 100 km/h.

Children play in that park and use the crosswalk next to it, the indignant Tookey says.

He’s been told by a volunteer crossing guard that almost every week a driver either doesn’t notice the warning sign near the park until the last minute or ignores it altogether.

“It’s quite common,” Tookey says.

He and the other parents on the PAC would like the Township to put some kind of warning sign on 222 about 75 to 100 metres ahead of the park.

“It’s just a matter of time before we have a serious injury,” he warns.

There is a lot of traffic to and from the Fraser Highway down 222, Tookey notes, adding other schools in Langley have those kinds of advance warning signs.

That is unlikely to happen at James Hill, however.

There are currently no plans to add another sign according to Paul Cordeiro, Langley Township manager of transportation engineering, who says another sign is unlikely to make much difference to drivers who ignore posted speed limits and don’t pay attention.

Cordeiro says a number of changes have already been made to improve safety, including  installing curb extensions that prevent parking near the intersection of 222 and Old Yale that could obscure driver views.

The park itself is fenced off and the existing signs are clearly visible well before a driver would enter the restricted speed zone, Cordeiro adds.

James Hill Elementary School Principal Mike Etheridge says Tookey’s proposal seems reasonable and common sense.

“The corner he is talking about is quite dangerous due to the fact that cars go speeding through regardless of the fact that there is a crosswalk there,” Etheridge said in an e-mail to The Times.

“My crosswalk supervisors have mentioned to me on several occasions how fast cars speed by even though children are waiting to cross the street. It would seem to me that anything that would prevent a possible accident would be a good idea.”


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