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‘Kiss ’n Ride’ on track

By Heather Latter, Fort Frances Times Ltd.

With the “Kiss ’n Ride” program running smoothly at J.W. Walker, Robert Moore, and St. Francis here, the Fort Frances Traffic Safety Committee has wrapped up the initiative.
“We will bring the group back together if any concerns arise,” said local OPP Cst. Anne McCoy, though noting with the program well into its second year, most of the issues have been addressed.
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“We have done what we set out to do,” she remarked.
“Kiss ’n Ride” is billed as a convenient, safe, and efficient procedure for dropping off children at school in the morning and for picking up them up in the afternoon.
Its aim was to separate vehicular traffic from school bus traffic to further enhance the safe and efficient transportation process.
As a final step in the initiative, the Traffic Safety Committee had a video created to demonstrate to other communities the process of implementing a “Kiss ’n Ride” program.
The video, produced by Tom Foley of JadMart Video Services, was funded by Safe Communities Rainy River District.
Foley spent several months interviewing the many community partners involved in the project, as well as parents who use the “Kiss ’n Ride” program.
The Traffic Safety Committee viewed the nearly 30-minute video at a meeting last week.
With a few changes suggested, Cst. McCoy indicated Foley will make the required adjustments and the video will be given to Safe Communities Rainy River District.
Safe Communities will give it final approval and then post it online for use by other communities.
It’s expected the video will be available online the first week of January.
“It is an excellent way to wrap up this initiative,” Cst. McCoy enthused.
“It is really giving the project sustainability.”
The Traffic Safety Committee also was presented with the executive summary of the “Kiss ’n Ride” program’s one-year review and recommendation report.
Elaine Fischer, with the Northwestern Health Unit here, conducted the survey on behalf of the Traffic Safety Committee, which showed 72 percent of respondents indicating they were satisfied or very satisfied overall with the “Kiss ’n Ride” program so far.
Some 71 percent agreed or strongly agreed the program has improved before-school safety while 61 percent agreed or strongly agreed it has improved after-school safety.
The post implementation review took place in April, with 80 respondents completing the survey.
Based on survey results and preliminary findings, Fischer recommended reviewing strategies to improve efficiency for pick-up after school, as well as continuing education and enforcement along “Kiss ’n Ride” traffic routes and within school zones.
There also was the recommendation to monitor traffic flow patterns, such as conducting a review of designated routes at peak user times, in addition to advocating for safe routes for child walking and biking to school.
Despite the Traffic Safety Committee wrapping up its meetings for the “Kiss ’n Ride” initiative, community partners, such as school officials, law enforcement, and the Town of Fort Frances, will continue to follow up on the recommendations offered.

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