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Keeping students safe

MUSD working with city to reduce mishaps

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Keeping students safe

East Union High campus monitor Joe Giampietro doubles as a crossing guard and braves the chaotic morning Northgate traffic as students cross the busy street at the Junewood intersection.

HME ROMERO/The Bulletin/


POSTED November 17, 2017 1:07 a.m.

Five Manteca Unified students walking to or from city campuses have been struck by vehicles during the past 26 months including a young girl who was killed.
It has prompted the district to double down on efforts to address safety issues.
The latest incidents have involved East Union High students being hit by cars in two separate accidents as they were crossing streets bordering the campus. In each case, Manteca Police indicated the positon of the sun could have reduced the driver’s ability to see.
“While respecting municipal rights to make their own improvements, we are dedicated to working with our city partners to review and provide input to any potential city improvements,” noted Deputy Superintendent Clark Burke.
Those efforts have involved participation in the Safe Routes to School Committee, the district/city 2x2 meetings involving two council members and two school board trustees, attending Manteca Planning Commission meetings where student pedestrian and bus drop-off issues connected with projects are brought up, and paired staff partnerships.
After the death of a Shasta School student in 2015 along with a Manteca high cross country runner who was critically injured crossing Moffat Boulevard to return to the campus during a practice run, the district — working in conjunction with the city — generated Google maps of neighborhoods around every school and distributed them to each campus. Each school was tasked to work with their staff and parents to identify areas that are of a concern. They ranged from visual concerns at intersections that a numerous of students cross, traffic conditions, or other issues.
School level staff communicates constantly with parents and students about the safest walking routes to campuses. The initial effort following the 2015 incidents prompted the city to make sure crosswalks and other traffic markings were visible.
The district has made a number of major safety upgrades in the past year as part of the Measure G bond projects for modernization as well as health and safety problems.
uLincoln School has a new front entrance along Powers Avenue that has significantly increased the safety of children going to and from school as well as reduced traffic congestion on Yosemite Avenue. The replacement circular drop-off driveway is significantly longer and has less visual impairments than the one it replaced.
uSequoia School no longer face Martha Street as it had for more than half a century. The front was re-orientated to Wawona Street to take advantage of a better designed parking lot that has significantly reduced the mixing of students walking and moving cars. It also allowed the original Martha Street entrance to be used exclusively for student drop-offs for kindergarten.
uShasta School’s parking lot flow was enhanced for safety while a separate area was created for kindergarten drop-offs.
In the recent years, the city has undertaken projects driven primarily by concerns of student safety going to and from school.
They included:
uThe traffic signal on Woodward Avenue at Buena Vista Drive.
uCrosswalk warning flashers on Woodward Avenue at Pagola Avenue.
uPlacing a crosswalk with flashers that can be activated by pedestrians on Cottage Avenue at Brookdale Way.
uInstalling sidewalks along the northern side of the golf course on Crom Street as well as installing stop signs and traffic calming devices.
uPeriodic decoy enforcement to ticket drivers who violate basic state laws requiring them to stop when individuals are in crosswalks. Such enforcements have taken place near East Union High.
The Tidewater Bikeway in its initial design in the 1990s as well as with extensions was done partly with to and from school travel by students in mind.
The latest project the city is undertaken regarding pedestrian safety — an envisioned dedicated bridge crossing for bicyclists and pedestrians across the 120 Bypass at Union Road — also was advanced in part about a number of high school students that travel on foot, bicycles, or skate boards from south of the 120 Bypass to Sierra High.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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