Pitt Meadows students want drivers to think of them

Campaign to slow drivers down along Harris Road in front of their school

Students at Pitt Meadows elementary draw attention to their Think Of Me campaign. (Pitt Meadows elementary/Special to The News)

Students at Pitt Meadows elementary draw attention to their Think Of Me campaign. (Pitt Meadows elementary/Special to The News)

Slow down.

That is the message students at Pitt Meadows elementary wanted to get through to motorists along Harris Road for the school’s ‘Think Of Me’ campaign – a campaign to make drivers slow down around their school.

About five classes – with students in Grades 3, 4, 6, and 7, and a kindergarten class as well – stood on the front lawn of the school mid-October waving handmade signs reading things like: Please slow down; Think of us; Stay off you phone; and Pay attention.

Kim Smith’s Grade 4/5 class at the school made about 30 cards the RCMP to hand out to drivers who were either going over the posted speed limit or for those going the speed limit as a courtesy.

“There were lots of tickets given out during that time,” noted school principal Shelley Linton.

Speeding, said Linton, is a “huge” problem along Harris Road in front of the school.

“I have a couple of little kids who are runners. We had, just the other day, my vice principal went running out the front door after a child who had taken off because he was upset and running right towards Harris Road,” she said.

Harris Road is considered a school zone and the posted speed limit is 30 km/hr.

The school’s Parent Advisory Council, as well as Linton, have made lots of phone calls to the city and to the RCMP about the issue that resulted in the installment of a flashing speed sign that tells drivers what speed they are going when entering the school zone.

“To be honest, I really don’t think it makes a difference,” remarked Linton.

About 150 students took part in the hour-long ‘Think Of Me’ campaign, coming out at different times to hold their signs. About 10 members of the RCMP were there along with representatives from ICBC.

The same campaign took place at Websters Corner elementary.

Kate Woochuk, local ICBC road safety coordinator, wants drivers to pay extra attention as conditions are getting darker, particularly for late afternoon commutes.

“We’re reminding road users to be extra alert during the fall and winter months, as visibility and weather conditions worsen,” said Woochuk. “When driving, focus on the road, leave your phone alone and be ready to yield to pedestrians – especially at intersections. When walking, always use designated crosswalks, make eye contact with drivers and try to be as reflective as possible.”

And she is also reminding drivers to pay attention to how they are feeling when the time changes this weekend – the end of Daylight Savings Time – and take extra care on the roads.

Linton is hoping the campaign will make people realize that they have to slow down in all school zones – not just theirs.

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