Mayor Dan Curtis stands in front of Minister Richard Mostyn and MP Larry Bagnell during an infastructure announcement made outside Jack Hulland Elementary School in Whitehorse on June 2. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

Safety improvements planned for Whitehorse school zones

Enhanced pedestrian crosses are planned to make walking to school safer

The federal government will fund five projects to improve school zone safety around Whitehorse.

Mayor Dan Curtis, Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn and federal MP Larry Bagnell made the announcement on June 2 outside Jack Hulland elementary school. The federal government is contributing $820,000 from the federal Gas Tax Fund, which will fund improvements to several school areas.

“Concerns about traffic safety are common across the territory,” said Mostyn. “Whitehorse is growing. There’s more traffic on our streets. Parents and other citizens are navigating these changes daily. They know how important school zones are and in some cases see how inadequate our school safety zones have become.”

Curtis, gesturing at the school behind him, recalled a tragic event from when he was a student at the school over four decades ago. He said he was in Grade 7 when a five-year-old was struck and killed by a bus outside the school.

“I always thought to myself every day I went back here, ‘When are we going to make the improvements that are required?’ There’s been so many near misses,” he said. “We had to make sure that we can address the concerns before they become tragedies.”

Curtis thanked the federal government for the financial contribution, as well as the work of public servants to identify priority areas and territorial MLAs who advocated for improvements.

A new sidewalk will be built near Jack Hulland Elementary School in Porter Creek in addition to a paved trail outside the school, curb extensions at the crosswalk and an intersection to calm traffic, reduce crossing distance and improve sightlines.

Enhanced “zebra markings” will be painted on the pedestrian crossing at the Hamilton Boulevard and McIntyre Drive roundabout near Elijah Smith Elementary School and on Wann Road at school crosswalks.

At Holy Family Catholic Elementary School drop-offs will no longer be permitted on the south side of Wann Road. Curb extensions, lights near pedestrian crossings and a mini-roundabout will be built at the intersection with Basswood Street.

Lewes Boulevard will also get enhanced pedestrian markings on the pavement and a light-up crossing sign will be installed.

Finally, enhanced pavement markers and curb extensions will be added to the crosswalk at Takhini Elementary School.

Construction on the Jack Hulland improvements is set to be finished before the new school year begins. All other projects are to be completed by 2023.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Education

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