Letter to the Editor: Child Safety Concern on Highway in Green River near School
Section 41-6-20.1 of Utah State Law states, in subsection 3, part B1 that local authorities are responsible for providing lights, crosswalk and a crossing guard on any highway adjacent to a public school. For purposes of clarification the state defines a highway as any surfaced road that connects two other surfaced roads. Subsection two states that the state is responsible for highways under state jurisdiction, like business loop 70, but that the responsibility falls to local authorities when that property is adjacent to a citystreet. The State Department of Transportation sets further guidelines, detailing how schools and authorities work in conjunction to establish a routing plan, showing the most probable flow of pedestrian traffic to and from the school. Once established, the routing plan is used to establish locations of safe zones for the school. Furthermore, any street abutting the school's main entrance shallbe equipped with safe zone utilities, I.E. lights, signage, 20 MPH zone and crossing guard.
The guidelines state any location where 10 or more kids cross in a given day shall be provided with safe zone utilities. Because Bookcliff Elementary requires that children driven to school be unloaded on the city street a very unsafe situation is created wheneverchildren are unloaded on the west side of the street. Ten or more children easily cross the street on any given school day to go to and from vehicles. One might think that an easy solution might be to prohibit loading and unloading on the west side of the street but that still does not address the issue of the absence of a school zone in front of our school. Even if the law did not require it one would think that a community would choose to do so purely out of concern for the safety of their children. Every child coming from the West side of Green River must at some point cross Solomon Street. If they cross over at the park there is no crossing guard, he is there for Main Street. If a child crosses North of Main then they must cross Main on the opposite side from the crossing guard. If they cross anywhere South of Main there is no crossing guard. The solution is simple. Dale Stapley, of the Utah Department of Transportation has advised that if requested in writing to do so, he will send an engineer down to assess the problem. Stapley also advises that the request must come from an agency such as the Parent Teachers Association, School Board or local Constabulary.
Many of you may think this is chronic complaining but an incident occurred two weeks ago that should serve to contradict that notion. A car was traveling southbound on Solomon when the driver spotted a small boy running out from between two cars to get to a vehicle parked across the street. The driver of the car slowed to 15 MPH in order to insure the safety of the child. Seconds after the child entered the street an SUV passed the car on the left, at approximately 25 MPH. Had that pass been executed three seconds earlier, tragedy may have been the result.
One citizen was really annoyed at the prospect, seeming to put personal convenience ahead of child safety but most of us are realistic and place a child's safety ahead of finance or convenience. It is what Newsweek Magazine used to call a no-brainer. Written requests for an assessment must come from an agency, not an individual and should be directed to Dale Stapley, Utah Department of Transportation, 940 S. Carbon Avenue, Price Utah 84501.