Empire school safety tips during construction

The City of Waterloo is working with our contractor to help ensure student and parent safety as the school year begins and construction continues on Alexandra Avenue. Stopping work during the hours that students are entering and leaving school is not always possible, and while workers will be on the lookout for safety, we are asking you to do your part to stay safe.

For those driving students to school, please check the map and use the designated park and walk locations to avoid the construction. Vehicles should not access Alexandra Avenue, and there is no drop-off on Douglas or Empire streets to keep this route free for buses.

For those walking to school, it's always safest to simply avoid the area wherever possible. Crossing the street before getting to the work zone, or even going a block out of your way, can save you from getting muddy shoes -- or something much worse!

If it's not practical to avoid the work zone, then pedestrians need to be alert and careful. It's very important to obey ALL work zone signs, personnel, and markings.

Safety tips for pedestrians in a work zone

  • Construction vehicles often move suddenly and quickly. Work zone signs and orange snow fencing will guide you away from danger areas, but you should remain alert for moving construction vehicles and other unexpected hazards. Keep to the sidewalks where they are available, and cross through the construction area only where designated
  • Watch where you're going! Construction work may be fascinating to watch, but remember that your first responsibility is to get through the work zone safely. Get through the construction area promptly and carefully, and don’t linger any longer than necessary.
  • Consider walking in groups and/or with an adult who can help keep everyone safe and alert when walking near the construction zone.
  • Be patient, and give yourself extra time. Work cannot always stop immediately, and you may need to wait until work and/or construction vehicles can be safely stopped to allow you through.
  • Keep far away from open excavations and active construction vehicles. If you have to pass near these obstacles, make sure one or more of the construction workers in the area is aware of your presence, and can help escort you safely through the work zone. Don’t assume they know you are there! Wait for eye contact and an acknowledgement that they are aware of your location and intent.

Safety cues to watch for in work zones

  • Orange work zone signs -- Communicate to both drivers and pedestrians what is going on and how to travel safely through the work zone. Can indicate that a sidewalk is closed and that a detour must be taken.
  • Construction worker acknowledgement – Eye contact and a hand signal or wave acknowledges that they have seen you and recognize your intent to enter their space. They will come to escort you, or indicate with hand signals when it is safe to proceed. If they don’t know you are there, it is more likely that accidents can happen. Make sure they know you are there, and where you need to get to.

Remember, the key to safety is to be alert, careful, and make sure the workers see you!

Map showing Alexandra Avenue between Lourdes and Westmount, and Empire Street between Alexandra and Douglas closed for construction. Park and walk locations for drop-off are on Forsyth, Hilliard and Hillcrest, with pedestrian access via Douglas Street, or on Dick Street with access via Westmount to Douglas. There is no parking on Douglas or Empire streets, which are reserved for bus access only.

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