School Zone Safety Projects
I commonly hear from parents, and even residents that simply live near schools, that are concerned about the safety of students walking and biking to local schools. A lot of the concern surrounds speeding, lack of sidewalks or difficult pedestrian crossing near schools.
Over the last two years we have made some noticeable improvements, especially near Rio Del Mar Elementary and Bradley Elementary. Near Bradley we were able to create a new protected turn lane, significantly improving the safety for student drop-off and pick-up as well as maintaining traffic flow on Corralitos Road.
Near Rio Del Mar Elementary, we installed a new ADA accessible crosswalk at Pinehurst and Dolphin Drive so students can safely cross Dolphin. In addition, we expanded the sidewalk on Dolphin so it will no longer end for about 200 feet between Manresa and Seascape Blvd so pedestrians will have the ability to walk on a sidewalk and crosswalk all throughout Seascape to the school. Lastly, improved street markings noting the school zone and crossings and walkway improvements between Rio Del Mar Elementary and Clubhouse Drive were completed.
But even with these improvements, there are still a lot of concerns throughout the district about speed issues around schools. While the CHP handles all speed enforcement around county schools, and encourages neighbors to call them at 662-0511 with suggestions on where the hot spots are, we knew that we still needed to do some speed mitigation work around schools.
Working with the Public Works Department we supported a grant through the Active Transportation Program through the state to fund radar feedback signs (similar to the one we had funded on Sumner) around a number of schools in our district. I am pleased to announce that Public Works was successful in obtaining this grant! Specifically, we received funding for:
- Amesti Elementary: radar speed sign on Amesti Road
- Aptos High: two radar speed signs on Freedom Blvd.
- Aptos Junior High: rectangular rapid flashing beacon system on Soquel at Huntington for pedestrian safety
- Bradley Elementary: two radar signs on Corralitos Rd.
- Calabasas Elementary: radar speed sign on Calabasas Rd.
- Mar Vista Elementary: two radar feedback signs on Sequel and one rectangular rapid flashing beacons system plus overhead flashing beacon system for pedestrian safety at Soquel and Heather Terrace.
- Valencia Elementary: one radar sign on Trout Gulch and one on Valencia.
These school projects mark one of the largest investments in school safety in our district in quite some time. Meeting with traffic engineers, school district staff, law enforcement and parents we felt that investing in speed mitigation would be an important first step toward improving safety in school zones.
Public Works is going to bid in November for installation of these devices with work expected to be completed in the next few months. In the coming year we are working on additional grant funding for a speed sign on Dolphin Drive, near Rio Del Mar Elementary, a new sidewalk along Trout Gulch near Valencia Elementary and additional pedestrian improvements throughout the district.
Your input has been essential in prioritizing these locations during the grant process and I’m looking forward to seeing these speed mitigations come to fruition soon. Please continue to reach out to the CHP to help prioritize their patrols around schools and reach out to me with additional ways I can be helpful to maintaining safety in these school zones.
Courtesy : Zach Friend