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By Thomas J. Sullivan–
Construction is progressing on schedule along a 1.2-mile busy portion of Mariposa Avenue, as part of the Mariposa Avenue Safe Routes to School Phase 3 project. The city is also planning another similar project on Carriage Drive.
Stuart Hodgkins, principal civil engineer for the city’s general services department, said the estimated $1.97 million project, which was paid for through block grant funding that the city applied for, includes the installation of curb, gutter, sidewalk, bike lanes, curb access ramps and street lighting on Mariposa Avenue, between Greenback Lane and Madison Avenue.
“We listened to the safety concerns of parents, teachers and families in the area and recognized where these needed improvements should be made,” he told The Sentinel. “This will complete the bicycle and pedestrian network between Skycrest Elementary School, San Juan Park, and San Juan High School and to the neighborhoods to the east.”
Hodgkins said 10 new streetlights will be added along portions of Mariposa Avenue as part of the construction, which will help with visibility for pedestrians and drivers travelling along the busy street.
Although the project won’t be completed before the start of the new school year, Hodgkins is projecting a completion date by late October.
“Once complete, this ‘Safe Route to School’ project should greatly help the students who walk or take their bicycles to and from Skycrest Elementary School each day,” he said.
What’s coming next?
A second “Safe Routes to School” project, overseen by City Senior Civil/traffic Engineer Leslie Blomquist, will address the Carriage Drive/Lauppe Lane corridor. Three schools in the area have experienced a 25 percent enrollment increase and a large majority of students arrive to schools in cars, Hodgkins said.
According to the city’s general services department, the increase in enrollment has contributed to already high peak vehicular, pedestrian, bicycle and parking demands, increased vehicular speeds, mid-block and uncontrolled pedestrian crossings, and school ingress and egress concerns.
“The city is in the very early study phase on this project,” Hodgkins said. Blomquist, who will be the lead civil engineer on this project, was unavailable for comment.
Hodgkins, on her behalf, said the city is looking at some interim cost-effective measures to address some of the immediate traffic public concerns along the Carriage Drive/Lauppe Lane corridor when school resumes.
“We’ll be meeting with and talking with parents and school administrators this fall to determine what the best solution will be. From there, we’ll seek final design and construction funding.”
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