Student Safety Promotes Traffic Changes | Local
Moscow City will temporarily close left-turn lanes at the intersection of D Street and Mountain View Road next week in a bid to increase pedestrian safety in an area that many children use to get to school on foot.
The change, made at the request of the Moscow school district, will last 90 days and transport officials said they plan to monitor the measure’s effectiveness as a potential long-term remedy for the dangerous crosswalk. The intersection is bordered by Moscow Middle School and Eggan Youth Center, and a few blocks from Hamilton-Lowe Aquatic Center and McDonald Elementary School.
Safe Routes To School program coordinator Erin Bacon said the four-lane stop, with a left-turn lane on either side of the intersection, has always been a problem during morning rush hours and the afternoon when students walk or cycle to and from school. . She said her organization conducted a survey of parents’ perceptions of the crossing in 2017 and parents said that a major obstacle preventing parents from allowing their children to walk to school was the intersection of D and Mountain View.
“There have been a lot of close calls at this intersection, for the crossing guards in particular, and it really results from the fact that eight cars are ready to go at this intersection,” Bacon said. “Nobody knows whose turn it is, half the people say hello to the others, because it’s Moscow and everyone is nice, and it gets really confusing and it gets worse because people start to become nervous (and) they start to get frustrated. “
Moscow Superintendent Greg Bailey said he has personally seen close calls at the intersection, and although the crossing guards are doing what they can, it is difficult to manage so many vehicles and turn lanes at left only exacerbate the confusion. He noted that a student was struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk at D and Mountain View a few years ago, and although the student was not injured, the danger to other pedestrians remains. .
“What I saw there were extremely long lines of cars in the morning, as well as people not being as careful as they can be, not only with our crossing guards, but also with young children. “said Bailey. “We just want to make sure this hub is safe for our students. “
Deputy City Supervisor Bill Belknap said eliminating left-turn lanes is a cost-effective and relatively easy-to-implement solution to the problem. He said that although the intersection works well most of the day, he said there was a huge increase in pedestrian and car traffic during rush hour before and after school.
Belknap said the more expensive solutions include installing a traffic light or roundabout at the intersection, but reducing the number of lanes requiring stationary management from eight to four would be a lot. cheaper to implement and easier to remove if it is ineffective.
He said city employees will monitor the shutdown before and after the measure is installed to see if the change is really helping to reduce some risk, and will ask crossing guards and others about their perception of the change.
Bacon said the hope is that the move won’t increase the stress on the traffic, but will actually make it easier for the traffic to move because it will be less confusing.
Belknap said that while it is possible to remove the turn lanes, longer lines of cars will stretch along Mountain View Road and other nearby arteries during rush hour, he said it is likely that traffic will move as quickly as if they were there.
“You don’t get a lot of extra throughput capacity (from the turn lanes) and traditionally the turn lanes try to take people out of the through lane,” he said. “It’s not unusual to see them at a four-way stop, but I’m not sure if they offer the capacity increases that you would traditionally see and they potentially introduce further confusion with the prospect of who has the right.” of passage. “