Parents stopping in the no-stop zones outside schools are creating a safety concern for Brandon School Division.
Board chair Mark Sefton said the problem is becoming a bigger issue across the city, especially now with the recent snowfall.
"People are stopping basically right in front of no-stopping zones to unload or load kids," Sefton said. "There’s a lot of traffic right around schools at certain times of the day … You combine a lot of traffic and people stopping where they shouldn’t and poor sight lines, it’s a very scary situation."
Sefton says he understands that parents want to make the trip to the doors as short as possible for their kids, but if sight lines aren’t clear it’s a "tragedy waiting to happen."
"We know what kids are like when they get out of school, they sure don’t always stop, look and listen," Sefton said. "I don’t want to overstate it, but at the same time we really need motorists to be cautious."
Parking at the schools is controlled by signs that indicate either no parking or no stopping. Each Brandon school has a no-stop zone marked with signs and they’re usually right in front of the school. They also appear at crosswalks beside schools.
Bylaw enforcement officers regularly patrol schools. The fine for stopping in a no-stop zone is $120, but that is reduced to $40 if it is paid within seven days.
"I understand why people get ticked off if they get a ticket, but at the same time, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to make sure that it’s a safe environment for kids," Sefton said. "Snowfall seems to heighten the issue because of narrowing of roadways, snow piles, colder temperatures … perhaps people want to try to drop their kids off as close to the door as they can so that they’re not out in the cold."
Brandon Police Service Sgt. Kevin Loewen said drivers often mistake the no-stopping signs for no-parking signs or believe they can just stop quickly to drop off or pick up their children.
"Some people appear to believe that if they are still in their vehicle, they’re not stopped, and stopped means stopped. That doesn’t mean vehicle left unattended," Loewen said.
Loewen said the problem isn’t getting worse, but the concern is always there.
"This is a safety concern that obviously everybody shares and the enforcement efforts that our staff are making are simply to make those areas safe," Loewen said. "Nobody wants to be a driver that hits a child and no one wants to have their children hit at school, so because there is such a large number of pedestrians crossing ... we want to try to ensure that those areas are as safe as we can possibly make it, even under adverse winter conditions."