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Use of private driveways the latest school drop-off issue

It’s one thing to turn around in a driveway when you’re lost out in the country, but to make it part of your morning drop-off routine is a whole other story.

Lauren Perfect’s mother lives across from Park Manor Public School and every morning without fail, parents will pull into her driveway and let their kids get out. Even when she’s placed her garbage can in the middle of the driveway to deter people, they just drive over it.

Park Manor has designated drop-off spots across the street from the school because parents aren’t allowed to drop them off in the parking lot anymore. Perfect said no-stopping signs and no U-turns go ignored.

“So they’re actually pulling up to the home, with a parked vehicle in the driveway, put the car in park, the kids get out, they may go to the back of the minivan to grab their backpack, then they go to the window and do the kiss thing,” Perfect said. “And I think that’s abuse. I think it’s trespassing and I think it’s abuse of other peoples’ private property.”

She says it’s not only trespassing but a safety issue with kids popping out of vehicles and running across the street. She’d like to see the front lawn of the school be turned into a drop-off zone where parents could pull up to the school and the kids could jump out, without using other peoples’ property or risking their kids’ safety.

“Years ago when my kids were in Park Manor we were allowed to drop off in the parking lot. I think the problem has become worse since the school made a rule that parents couldn’t do that anymore and I see it seems to be getting worse every year,” Perfect said. “Parents are becoming more and more brazen about using the neighbours’ driveways.”

Principal James Bond said he appreciates their concerns of having cars constantly turning around in their driveways and creating a safety hazard.

“I understand where neighbors could be upset by that and it’s unfortunate that some parents still choose to do that even when we’ve got the township involved to come and issue tickets,” Bond said.

Perfect thinks some parents have no idea what they’re doing anything wrong. She said she spoke to the principal and he said he’d make announcements to remind parents where they can and can’t drop off their kids, especially important with the winter months coming.

Bond said this is the first time he’s had a neighbour come and complain to him in his six years at the school. He also noted there’s no reason parents need to turn around in driveways because they can come up or down Nightingale Crescent.

“Part of it is if the neighbours notice it to remind them nicely, because I have heard from some students that some neighbours have come out and been inappropriate in the way they’ve asked them to stop doing it,” Bond said.

Perfect said a police car was parked at the corner of Mockingbird Drive and Nightingale Crescent one morning last week after she told the principal about the issue, and everyone abided by the signs. But the next day she watched and it was back to normal.

“I saw a dozen cars stop in the no stopping zone to drop off their children. I saw three cars just in the short time I sat there make a U-turn right in front of the no U-turn sign. I saw two cars drop off kids but then drive in reverse to get to the intersection so they could turn around.”

She said she spoke to a mom who pulled in the driveway to turn around. Perfect said her mom moved into the neighborhood 25 years ago and has lived with the extra traffic, noisy school buses, and kids cutting across her lawn with no complaints. But they both agreed this was too much.

“She feels that using her driveway is something she hadn’t counted on and she thinks it’s over the top and I agree with her,” Perfect said.

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