Mississauga councillors concerned parked school buses near homes pose traffic danger

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Published December 20, 2021 at 11:58 am

Niagara schools are open today but their buses are not running.

Mississauga officials plan to meet with the city’s school bus operator after several councillors voiced concern that buses parked in residential neighbourhoods are posing a traffic hazard.

Calling it a city-wide issue, Ward 8 Councillor Matt Mahoney said he’s been getting more calls recently about school buses being parked on small streets in his ward. The concern, he noted, is that the large vehicles make it difficult for drivers to see beyond and safely navigate past them.

It’s common practice, and allowed by City of Mississauga parking enforcement authorities, for school bus drivers to park near their homes or in plaza parking lots during the day instead of bringing the vehicles back to the bus depot.

Mahoney said one complainant noted that three school buses park on one small street in particular daily, while in another case school buses regularly park on a small court.

“I’ve got another one where the bus parks, the sight lines to make a right turn aren’t clear,” said Mahoney, adding he’s aware City parking enforcement allows the practice, “but it’s blocking cars coming in (to the street). Seems like a natural danger to me.

“It’s basically an inconvenience, but it’s also a bit of a safety issue,” he continued. “We have talked about it before. I know they’re within their five-hour parking limit, so it’s difficult to (enforce), but I’m just wondering if there’s something we can do to reach out to some of theses (school bus) companies” to find an alternative with respect to where they can park. 

“It’s getting a bit frustrating, and in some of these cases it’s becoming a bit of a danger, which concerns me.” 

City staff said its parking enforcement team will reach out to STOPR (Student Transportation of Peel Region) “and have a conversation with them on road safety and school bus parking issues, and come back (to Council) with an update.”

Ward 6 Councillor Ron Starr said he’s spoken with school bus drivers in the past couple of years who’ve told him they’re asked by the companies to not bring the buses back to the depot during the day, but to find another place to park.

“I think it bears looking into because it’s starting to happen (more often)…especially during the winter months,” said Starr, who agreed that meeting with STOPR is necessary.

Staff added they’ll ask STOPR officials what exactly they tell their bus drivers with respect to parking the vehicles during the day.

Ward 11 Councillor George Carlson, who served as a public school board trustee before being elected to City Council in 2000, reminded his colleagues of the rationale behind allowing school buses to park on streets in the first place. 

Beyond allowing for the saving of $100,000 or more a year by not having to “run the buses back to the yard, particularly at lunch time when (drivers) were off for a couple of hours and then back on,” Carlson noted that many drivers also had their own young children with them to look after and it would be too much for them to drive the bus all the way back to the depot.

He urged councillors to keep that in mind, adding if anyone is looking to ban school bus parking on neighbourhood streets, “…you may have a hard time getting (school bus) drivers…with many of them looking after their children and so forth.”

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