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  • Writer's pictureMatt Harrison

Demolition derby drop-off, pick-up

A child is going to get hit.

Anyone who's dropped off, or picked up their kid from the Wakefield community centre parking lot for transportation to or from Philemon-Wright Hadley can attest to the dangerous situation kids are being subjected to every morning and afternoon.

Kids are forced to traverse a parking lot where buses are coming and going, and where, at the same time, parents' vehicles are also entering and exiting. If everyone was moving in the same direction, it likely wouldn't be a problem — but that's not the case.

The problem is that the community centre is basically a loop. The community centre consists of two parking lots connected by a short road. Buses enter the parking lot in front of the skatepark and near the Transcollines bus stop and move into position around the loop to the other parking lot in front of the library. Parents, however, are entering and exiting the loop from both sides, and parking along the side of the lot in front of the library to let their kid out or pick them up. Along that side, parents' vehicles are routinely facing one another — even blinding one another with their headlights, which suggests to any sane person that something isn't right.

Vehicles entering and exiting the loop in both directions has created the potential for some child to get hit. Honestly, it's a miracle it hasn’t happened yet.

It's my understanding that this potentially dangerous drop-off/ pick-up situation at the Wakefield community centre has been going on for years, with a brief hiatus during COVID, when the funeral home's parking lot on Hwy 105 was temporarily used.

I recall Wakefield Elementary having a similar problem when the new school first opened on Riverside Drive. The school also has a loop, but it wasn't long before it was reserved for buses only, restricting cars to a one-way lane on the side.

Should the community centre establish a similar thing? Restrict the loop to buses only and force drop-off/pick-up to one half of the community centre's parking lot? Or install one-way signage around the loop?

But couldn't we, as parents, solve this highly solvable problem without police intervention (traffic control) or more signage, or even overwatch by Western Quebec School Board? Let's let common sense prevail — If you're coming from Hwy 5/105, don't enter the parking lot using the first entrance to the community centre. Shoot on past that (it's only a few more metres!) and enter the parking lot near the Transcollines bus stop and skate park, where you can either drop your child off there and let them walk around to the other parking lot, or where you can continue driving around the loop, following the flow of the buses, parking along the side where everyone's headlights face the same direction. Problem solved.

No one wants their child to be the first victim of this easily preventable situation, so, parents, let's act now.

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