As a crossing guard for the past seven years outside Lansdowne Public School, Lolli Barrette is in the middle of traffic all the time.
She said she has seen many vehicles speed through the school zone outside Lansdowne, and, in the winter, with icy conditions, she has seen vehicles slide through the four-way stop.
In fact, she knows several people who have been hit by vehicles in the area, including her own husband, who is also a crossing guard.
“You're always nervous going out to the middle of the road,” she said. “Slowing down the traffic is good for the kids and for me.”
That's exactly what Barrette hopes will happen now that Lansdowne Public School has initiated its Pace Car program, designed to prevent injury and save lives by reducing vehicle speeds in residential areas, especially in school zones and pedestrian-dense areas.
On Nov. 14, staff and school council members set up at the school to entice parents to sign on with the Pace Car program. In doing so, they pledge to drive the speed limit everywhere they drive. A bumper sticker and window decal signifies that pledge.
Kids are unpredictable, Barrette said. If a driver isn't paying attention when a child darts out into traffic, unaware of an oncoming vehicle, and the driver is going fast enough, it could be deadly.
“I hope it helps,” said Barrette.
“Sign up, slow down and keep our kids safe,” said Lansdowne school council chair Kate Barber — that's the message of the program.
Barber said the school council strives to promote walking and cycling to school as a positive, healthy choice for families.
“Pace Car is a great way to get community members involved in helping us slow down traffic and keep our kids safe,” Barber said.
Sudbury, and Lansdowne Public School specifically, is one of 10 Canadian communities to participate in the Pace Car pilot project, part of Parachute's child-pedestrian safety program Walk This Way.
For more information or to sign up as a Pace Car driver, visit parachutecanada.org or facebook.com/LansdownePaceCar or drop into Cosmic Dave's Vinyl Emporium at 595 Kathleen St. Tuesday to Saturday from 11:11a.m. till 5:55 p.m.