Last month, Abbotsford Middle School students Jenna Kim (left) and Jennifer Guthrie presented the findings of their research on the Bevan Avenue and Ware Street intersection, urging action on increasing safety by extending a school zone to the area. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Abby Schools

Abbotsford Middle students to be heard in city hall on traffic issue

Jennifer Guthrie and Jenna Kim studied crashes at intersection outside school, urge action on safety

A pair of Abbotsford Middle School students will get their time in city hall to advocate for speed limit changes around the intersection next to their school.

Jenna Kim and Jennifer Guthrie conducted research that found 119 crashes between 2006 and 2011, an average of 21 per year, including six involving pedestrians.

“More recently, from 2016 to 2018, there were about 50 accidents in only two years,” Guthrie told the school board last month.

Kim added that despite the number of crashes, ICBC does not see the intersection as a high-crash zone, “but an area where people must be vigilant because of the three schools nearby,” referencing Abbotsford Middle, Abbotsford Senior Secondary and Godson Elementary schools.

RELATED: Abbotsford Middle students study intersection, urge action on safety

At that intersection, where Bevan Avenue crosses Ware Street, one student was hit, suffering serious injuries in 2012.

The two students were advocating for lowering the speed limit within a certain range of that intersection, and got a ringing endorsement from the school board to bring their project to city hall’s transportation committee.

In a recent school board meeting, Abbotsford School District secretary-treasurer Ray Velestuk said he contacted the district’s manager of transportation, Ron Gregoire, to suggest he meet with the students.

“He decided to bring along three people from the [city’s] transportation advisory committee as well, so they gave the same presentation to that group and answered a bunch of questions,” Velestuk said.

“I think it was really enlightening to them, and it was a good exchange of information. The teacher, I think, looked very proud of her students. So it was really, really a nice opportunity for them to have done all of that work and then (to have) seen that somebody had listened and followed up with them.”

Trustee Phil Anderson, who sits on the transportation committee, said he will be bringing Kim and Guthrie to the committee to present on the issue later this month.

“So they will have the police there. They will have ICBC there. They will have everyone there who’s connected with it. So they will have some support being behind them,” he said.

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