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School Zone Safety

School Zone Safety

school zone sign

Be back to school safe!

It’s back to school season. Early mornings, rowdy young passengers, distracted pedestrians and congested school zones can make your commute tricky and stressful.

Did you know that choosing to walk or bike to school leads to healthier, happier and more alert learners?

You don’t need to give up your car completely. Start by taking some small steps such as:

  • Walk with your children one day per week

  • Try parking a block away from the school and walking the rest of the way. You’d be surprised how much quicker it can be than fighting the school congestion.

  • Or take it a step further and work with your school or parent council to start a walking school bus where you take turns walking a group of children to school. 

The City of Markham’s Transportation Engineering Department have been hard at work to help keep yourself, young passengers and pedestrians safe. In addition to 40 km/h speed zones and crossing guards, school safety initiatives include:

  • Markham’s School Zone Centreline Sign Program is in place at a total of 24 school zones in Markham. Through the installation of flexible posts installed directly on the pavement approaching the school zones, driver awareness is improved and vehicles slow down as they approach. The program is set to expand in 2019.

  • Markham’s Speed Management Program, includes deployment of radar speed signs to reduce vehicle speeds on problematic streets, with school zones given priority.

  • Supporting ongoing efforts from both school boards to promote active travel, which are intended to encourage more students to walk and bike to school.

Designated School Zones

The purpose of a school zone is to capture and focus motorists’ awareness that they need to undertake additional care in the vicinity of the school.

School Zone Safety

School safety is a major concern in most municipalities today. The primary concern is vehicular congestion in front of the school as parents compete to pick up and drop off their children as close to the school as possible. This creates a serious concern for both vehicle and pedestrian safety. Parked and stopped vehicles may obstruct traffic, school driveways, fire routes, school buses and can also increase the risk of pedestrian collisions. To help mitigate this issue, the City has been installing time-based “No Parking” and “No Stopping” with the designated School Zones. These restrictions are meant to help create a safer environment for both drivers and pedestrians.

If you would like to request the City conduct a technical warrant for the installation of school zone restrictions, please contact the Contact Centre at 905–475-4704.

School Crossing Guards

The role of a school crossing guard is to assist students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 in crossing streets where there are limited opportunities for them to safely do so by themselves.

Markham currently provides school crossing guard services throughout the City. For school crossing guard services to be implemented, the City conducts an assessment at the subject location using guidelines outlined in the Ontario Traffic Council School Crossing Guard Guide (2006). These guidelines encompass the following principles:

  • Number of students crossing the street;
  • The number of safe opportunities (gaps in traffic) to allow school-age children to safely cross the street;
  • Frequency of pedestrian/vehicle conflicts

To view the current crossing guard locations throughout the City of Markham, please visit the Roads eMap.

Do you need a crossing guard in your community?

If you would like to request school crossing guard services in your neighbourhood, please call 905-475-4704 or email and City staff can schedule an assessment.

Interested in becoming a crossing guard?

Recruitment for new crossing guards in all communities is ongoing. If you are interested in becoming a crossing guard, please contact the City’s program administrator, Staffing Services Inc., at 905-737-1600. Please be advised that the program is a contracted service offered through our contractor, Staffing Services Inc. Crossing guards are not employees of the City of Markham.

Active & Safe Routes to School program

The Active & Safe Routes to School program encourages the safe and active travel of students to and from school. The program provides a number of campaigns and events designed to help create safer neighbourhood routes for children, increase physical activity levels, reduce pollution and foster community spirit. Once parents and children discover the benefits,they might consider starting a Walking School Bus and if just nine families participate regularly they can collectively prevent almost 1,000 kg of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

To find out more, please visit Active & Safe Routes to School or download the official brochure [PDF].

[How do your kids get to school Markham Life article]