Pedestrian Safety Projects Start At Three Natomas Schools

TEMPORARY SAFETY FIXES AT JEFFERSON SCHOOL

BY BRANDY TUZON BOYD
THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Work gets under way this week to make streets near three Natomas schools safer after nearly a decade of surveys, community meetings and study.

Crews are scheduled to start construction projects meant to improve student safety for those who walk to Bannon Creek, Natomas Park and Jefferson elementary schools, according to a press release issued by the city of Sacramento.

Improvements include wider sidewalks, bulbs at key intersections to reduce the pedestrian crossing distance, curb ramps to improve accessibility, high visibility crosswalks and more. The projects are expected to be nearly finished by the first day of school, August 15.

“We are thrilled to see the Safe Routes to School projects being implemented on three of our region’s busiest campuses,” Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby said. 

The need for the safety improvements at Bannon Creek, Natomas Park and Jefferson schools date back to 2004 when the Natomas Unified School District conducted a survey on how students got to school. 

Safety and fast traffic were reasons cited by parents why their children did not walk or bike to Natomas campuses. The survey found the further students lived from schools, the less likely they were to walk or bike. 

“One common complaint was the parking lot, entries and exits used to drop off children at school,” the survey results read. “This presents the picture of a vicious circle; parents are concerned about letting their kids walk or bike because of the traffic concerns close to the schools, so they in turn drive and make the situation more hectic.”

Armed with these survey results from 2004 and input from the community in the 2006 “Report on Recommendations from Community Design Workshops in North and South Natomas,” the Natomas Unified School District applied for and was awarded a federal, multi-year Safe Routes To School grant in 2007.

The mission of Safe Routes to School is to improve children’s safety while walking and bicycling to school.

The 2006 report identified problem spots at Bannon Creek, Natomas Park and Jefferson schools. (In Streetwise: Walking & Biking in Natomas – a special report by THE NATOMAS BUZZ last year – Natomas parents expressed frustration that recommended safety fixes still had not been implemented five years later.)

NUSD & TRUSD CAMPUSES IN NATOMAS

“These improvements will help keep our students safe on their way to and from school each day thanks to the outstanding leadership of community members who have advocated for these much anticipated improvements for a very long time,” said Ashby, whose office added its own recommendations to improve student safety near all Natomas Unified campuses in a July 2011 presentation to the school district.

Added Ashby, “Natomas is a community of champions and this accomplishment is a great victory for our neighborhoods.”

The $1.6 million in projects starting this week are being paid for in part by the Safe Routes to School grant along with school infrastructure bond money .

The city will oversee construction being done by three separate construction contractors.

Work is scheduled to take place through August 20, weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bannon Creek Elementary, Natomas Park Elementary and Jefferson Elementary. 

 PARENT MARC LAVER VOLUNTEERED AS A CROSSING GUARD TO HELP KEEP STUDENTS SAFE AT NATOMAS PARK ELEMENATARY SCHOOL FOR TWO YEARS.