Fort Smith’s district education authority (DEA) is asking the town to install more stop signs along McDougal Road to slow traffic near the community’s two schools.
There are no stop signs on McDougal Road in front of the schools. That means traffic leaving the schools, the head start program, and Aurora College’s Breynat Hall residence gets backed up waiting for traffic going down McDougal.
Pedestrians trying to cross the road to reach the schools have one unlit crosswalk on McDougal Road, in front of the elementary school.
The DEA wants the town to consider making two intersections – McDougal and Field Street, and McDougal and Conibear Crescent – into three-way stops to slow traffic entering school zones.
The speed limit is currently 30 km/h over this stretch of road, but the only stop sign before the school zone is blocks away.
At a council committee meeting last Tuesday, DEA representative Laura Aubrey noted traffic heading out of town toward the airport along McDougal Road naturally speeds up “because there are no mitigating factors.”
“Traffic has been a bit of an issue in front of JBT [Joseph B Tyrrell Elementary School] for quite a long time,” said Aubrey. “Even with bylaw officers, it’s still not resolved – a lot of people speed in that area.”
Aubrey noted Covid-19 has stopped JBT running a program that normally allows students to use the crosswalk more safely at critical times. As a result, the school’s administration “has a lot of concerns about the safety of children.”
The town council is now considering the DEA’s request.