Sue Reynolds hasn't had a day on the job in the past five years when she hasn't feared the worst. As principal of Coquitlam's Eagle Ridge Elementary, Reynolds has observed more than her fair share of near misses and close calls as traffic flies by her Falcon Drive school.
"My heart is in my throat every day, almost," she said.
In light of that daily anxiety, Reynolds is encouraged the city is looking at solutions to deal with speeding and parking issues around the school.
Last week, city councillors began examining options to help ease those concerns, which are highlighted by a confluence of factors: a lack of parking or drop-off points, the steep curve adjacent to the school, excessive speeders and jaywalking.
Two options were presented to council to alleviate the problems near the school, though neither gained council approval.
Staff's preference is to move the centre line along Falcon Drive to the west to reduce the width of the downhill lane by slightly more than a metre. Signs reading "No Stopping Anytime" would have also been included, as would a provision to remove 15 on-street parking spaces on the west side of Falcon that are being used by residents of an adjacent townhouse complex.
The majority of council opposed the removal of those 15 spaces, particularly given that residents of the town-house complex have not been consulted.
"I think it's too much of an impact to remove the 15 parking stalls at the townhouse complex when we haven't really communicated with them . I think we would get quite an e-mail backlash in the future about not even giving some notification for them to put their two cents in on this," said Coun. Brent Asmundson.
The other option, which most of council agreed with, involves installing signs banning stopping between 8: 30 a.m. and 3: 30 p.m. on school days.
But before going that route, council asked staff to examine even more options, while also asking representatives from School District 43 and residents from the nearby townhouse complex to get involved in the consultation process.
Coun. Mae Reid, however, wanted to take the issue even further, and suggested the RCMP ramp up enforcement and begin issuing tickets en masse.
"If necessary, we need to get our RCMP to sit [outside] every single school, one day a week and throw out the tickets," she said. "I think there's a lot of people out there who need to be taken to task."
And while Reynolds doesn't necessarily disagree with Reid's suggestion, she realizes city bylaw workers and local Mounties can't monitor the school at all times.
Instead, her best-case scenario would see the centre line moved slightly west, eliminating any on-street parking on the west side of Falcon. That additional space would then free up enough room on the east side the street - the side the school is located on - for one lane of traffic, and another designated lane for drop-offs only.
Staff will likely report back to council on the issue next year.