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San Jose: Traffic calming measures planned for two schools

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City officials hope a traffic calming project planned near Reed Elementary School will make parents feel safer about sending their children to class.

Laura Wells, deputy director of the San Jose Department of Transportation, said Jacob Avenue near Reed Elementary often came up in discussions the agency and District 9 Councilman Don Rocha’s office had about school zones considered dangerous because of speeding motorists.

That’s why one-time city funds for pedestrian safety improvements will be spent there, she said.

Among other things, the city will place a radar sign on Jacob Avenue to let motorists know how fast they are driving and make some minor crosswalk improvements at the intersection of Jacob, Jarvis and Bryan avenues, according to Wells.

“The purpose of the radar sign is primarily to reinforce and remind drivers on Jacob Avenue about the school zone posted speed limit,” Wells told the Resident.

The radar signs will be installed some time next year and could cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000, depending on where they are placed. Wells said the city prefers to install them closer to street lights.

“It depends on how close the electricity is, so we do have to wire these and program them,” Wells said.

Elsewhere in the district, crossing guards will be tapped for the reopening of Steindorf Elementary School in Cambrian Park this August. Rocha requested a study to assess pedestrian travel patterns and safety risks at the magnet school, which has been closed in recent years.

“Our concern was the school was open and there was pedestrians and zero crossing guards,” Rocha said. “I’d rather ensure that we’re on the front end of this thing and providing a safe pedestrian environment when the school opens.”

The study won’t start until two weeks after the school year, according to Wells.

“We’ll probably wait a week or two for traffic so we’re not getting it during the preliminary period where people are still learning the traffic access to the school,” Wells said. “Generally, by the second week things have normalized so we will then conduct a crossing guard study looking at a variety of factors.”

For now, Rocha has proposed budgeting the crossing guards for the first semester.

“The other part of this situation is a bit different than others,” Rocha said. “It’s a magnet school, anybody in the school district can request to go there. In those situations you’re not likely going to have people walking to school…but then you’ll have a lot of commuters. There may be very little to no pedestrian traffic but I don’t know what their enrollment was. That’s the unique part about this.”

City officials will determine after the study whether the school has an ongoing need for the crossing guards. If not, the guards will be eliminated after the first semester.

 

Courtesy: Julia Baum

 
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