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School zones back in effect across Grande Prairie Wednesday

As of Wednesday morning, school zones are back in effect across the City of Grande Prairie. From 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on school days, drivers are required to slow down to a maximum of 30 kilometres per hour in those areas.

Corporal Patrick McPhee with the Grande Prairie RCMP says they are hoping not to have to issue as many tickets during the first couple weeks of the school years as they and bylaw officers have in the past.

“I think it’s a matter of getting back into practice and remembering to slow down and pay attention. We all need a reminder every now and again to slow down, pay attention, and look out for kids going to school.”

Helping keep students safe while crossing the road at many area schools will be AMA School Safety Patrollers. Coordinator Shelley Biendarra urges drivers to be extra cautious as students make their way back to classes.

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“It’s going to be congested so park further away, walk with your kids… pay attention to those patrollers and those young kids; they’re going to be excited to be going to school, so just keep an eye on them, make sure you’re paying attention to the rules of the road.”

Two of those patrollers will be grade six Maude Clifford students Avelyn Fehr and Zoey Friesen. They say they want to make sure their peers are safe getting to school.

“Always look if cars are coming,” says Zoey.

“Look both ways, make sure the cars are completely stopped,” adds Avelyn.

Biendarra also encourages pedestrians to make sure they make eye contact with drivers and ensure they have stopped for them to keep themselves safe.

Grande Prairie Enforcement Services will be focusing on vehicles that are illegally parked or stopped in school zones in September. Peace Officer Sergeant Ross Gear says some of the most common offences are parking within five metres of a crosswalk or intersection, arking in no parking or stopping zones, parking on sidewalks, and parking on the wrong side of the street.

“Drivers are further reminded that it is illegal to pass another vehicle that is moving in the same direction in either a school zone or playground zone during the times that these zones are in effect,” a release from the City of Grande Prairie reads.

Playground zones remain in effect year-round between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and one hour after sunset.

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