The post below is a communiqué drafted as a result of an ongoing discussion regarding the need for increased safety measures during school commute times in Blackburn Hamlet. It was drafted and and reviewed by the team working on the initiative discussed below, and one that is supported by the Blackburn Hamlet Community Association.

Blackburn Hamlet Community,
We are writing to you today to ask for your help in bringing attention to the need for crossing guards in Blackburn Hamlet.  We need to ensure that our children can safely get back and forth to school. This initiative is supported by the Principal and School Council at Glen Ogilvie Public School, the Principal and School Council at Good Shepherd Catholic School , the Principal and School Council at Emily Carr Middle School and the Blackburn Hamlet Community Association.
At Glen Ogilvie PS and at Good Shepherd CS, we have all been working to promote students walking and rolling to school. A parent survey was done to identify areas of concern that prevented children walking to school.  Of those identified, two intersections (Innes/Orient Park and Innes/Bearbrook) seemed to be of greatest concern and had the higher volumes of students crossing.  Based on this, a formal request was submitted to the city for an assessment for crossing guards at these two locations.  The results of the survey are attached below.  In both intersections there was enough volume; but because no “evasive action” had to be taken by a pedestrian or driver during the assessment, the request for crossing guards was denied.  (A similar finding was noted at the intersection of Innes and South Park two years ago, and this intersection is due to be reassessed in the Spring.)
We believe that this issue is important to parents and community members.  We have decided to appeal to everyone in the community as all of these intersections feed into four elementary schools.
The province is currently in the process of reviewing the criteria for crossing guards.  This is an opportunity for the community to provide a voice and request that the criteria be changed so that children do not need to “take evasive action”or actually be hurt before the requirements for a crossing guard are met.   If everyone could send one email, it could make a big difference in highlighting this issue.  
We have provided the contact information below for the email as well as a template email that can be used.  If you wish to write your own email that is most welcome.  However, if you just want to cut and paste, that is also great and any form of support would be fantastic.  It is critical that the community voice is heard so that our kids are safe.
Please send your emails to: info@otc.org  This is the main address for the Ontario Traffic Council.  It is also recommended that you cc krista.tanaka@ottawa.ca (City of Ottawa’s rep on the review committee) and Councillor Jody Mitic (Jody.Mitic@ottawa.ca).

Email:
To whom it may concern,
I am a parent / community member in Blackburn Hamlet in the City of Ottawa.  I have recently learned that an assessment for crossing guards was done by the city last year at two locations in our community.  I am aware that no crossing guards were approved despite the volume of students crossing these intersections.  I’m very disappointed at the results of this assessment and feel that the intersections of Innes / Orient Park and Innes / Bearbrook Road are dangerous for children to be crossing unassisted.  These two intersections have students crossing to four different elementary schools.  The fact that the criteria requires an observation of “evasive action” means that we are taking chances with our children’s safety and will not succeed in getting a crossing guard until you observe a child/person almost being hit or actually being hit.  This is a very troubling criterion and should be re-examined.   
I am aware the criteria for crossing guards is currently under review.  I appeal to you to put the safety of child pedestrians first and remove the requirement for “evasive action” and focus more on the volume of cars and pedestrians.  I am also requesting that the City of Ottawa reassess these intersections.  Should this appeal not be successful, the community will begin a campaign of reporting all incidents (where a pedestrian or driver takes evasive action) to the police to highlight the need for a crossing guard.
Thank-you for your attention to this situation.

SURVEY RESULTS:
1.Innes and Bearbrook Review
We have completed our review for a crossing guard at the intersection of Innes Rd and Bearbrook Rd/Glen Park Dr and unfortunately, it did not achieve the required council approved warrants to have an Adult School Crossing Guard installed.  I have provided a summary of the results as well as what requirements are needed for a signalized intersection such as this for your information.
Minimum number of students
The critical student crossing mass established for this warrant has been set at ten (10) students.  Students included in this volume would be those in Grade 8 and below, crossing within a period 30 minutes prior to school start-up or 30 minutes after school dismissal.  Students accompanied with parents or guardians, or on a bicycle are to be included in the volume.  If the volume is less than ten, alternative routes should be utilized.
During our review, we observed a total of 25 students crossing; therefore based on this information, the volume warrants were achieved for this intersection.
Signalized Intersection Criteria
For signalized intersections, signal timing and phasing should be reviewed first and modified if possible to accommodate pedestrian and turning vehicle movements such that no delay exists during the time period when elementary school children are crossing at a safe routes to school crossing.  If this cannot be accommodated, an assessment of pedestrian vehicle conflicts and need for pedestrians to yield their right-of-way to vehicle traffic is required.  If there are 2 or more conflicts identified an adult crossing guard is to be considered.  A conflict is defined by a situation where either the driver or pedestrian has to take evasive action to avoid a collision.
Our review showed that there were no instances where a child had to yield the right of way to a motorist or any conflicts where a pedestrian had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.  Since two conflicts were not observed, we cannot suggest an adult crossing guard at this location at this point in time.
2. Innes and Orient Park
We have completed our review for a crossing guard at the intersection of Innes Rd and Orient Park and unfortunately, it did not achieve the required council approved warrants to have an Adult School Crossing Guard installed.  I have provided a summary of the results as well as what requirements are needed for a signalized intersection such as this for your information.
Minimum number of students
The critical student crossing mass established for this warrant has been set at ten (10) students.  Students included in this volume would be those in Grade 8 and below, crossing within a period 30 minutes prior to school start-up or 30 minutes after school dismissal.  Students accompanied with parents or guardians, or on a bicycle are to be included in the volume.  If the volume is less than ten, alternative routes should be utilized.
During our review, we observed a total of 128 students crossing; therefore based on this information, the volume warrants were achieved for this intersection.
Signalized Intersection Criteria
For signalized intersections, signal timing and phasing should be reviewed first and modified if possible to accommodate pedestrian and turning vehicle movements such that no delay exists during the time period when elementary school children are crossing at a safe routes to school crossing.  If this cannot be accommodated, an assessment of pedestrian vehicle conflicts and need for pedestrians to yield their right-of-way to vehicle traffic is required.  If there are 2 or more conflicts identified an adult crossing guard is to be considered.  A conflict is defined by a situation where either the driver or pedestrian has to take evasive action to avoid a collision.
Our review showed that there were no instances where a child had to yield the right of way to a motorist or any conflicts where a pedestrian had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.  Since two conflicts were not observed, we cannot suggest an adult crossing guard at this location at this point in time.