Altadena/Cerritos crosswalk re-installed after community uproar - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Education

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Altadena/Cerritos crosswalk re-installed after community uproar

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Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2007 11:00 pm

On the evening of Oct. 16, concerned parents, Kyrene School District employees and community members gathered in the library at Altadena Middle School to discuss the removal of one of the campus's two crosswalks on Desert Foothills Parkway, just north of Desert Willow Drive. Four days later, the crosswalk was re-installed. Removed mid-September, the issue caused a commotion within the community. Parents expressed concern when cars sped up along Desert Foothills Parkway as a result of the removal. "Most combined elementary/middle school locations in the district have three (crosswalks)," said Elaine Hicks, mother of one student at Cerritos and two at Altadena. "This is a four-lane, 35 mph divided street, and as a result of the removed crosswalk cars have sped up quite a bit." Hicks said cars were traveling at 50 mph across the busy street while elementary, middle and high school students are crossing each morning and afternoon. During the meeting, organized by school safety section leader Don Cross, Cross answered questions about the crosswalk's removal and rules regarding the use of the crosswalk as part of a 15 mph school zone. City of Phoenix safety and neighborhood traffic officer Kerry Wilcoxon also spoke to community members about further options that are available to promote safety in the school zone area. "It is my understanding that the crosswalk was removed because there were not enough crossing guards to man the crosswalks," he said. "The school district hires the guards, but the city paints the streets." Wilcoxon spoke to community members about the Collector Street Mitigation Program, which involves options such as neighborhood speed watch, striping changes, curb bump-outs, road narrowing and traffic circles/roundabouts as solutions to slow cars down on Desert Foothills Parkway. "I discussed the fact that the average speed on this segment of Desert Foothills Parkway was 44 mph measured over a 48-hour period, which is roughly 10 mph over the speed limit," he continued. "Since Desert Foothills is a collector, or neighborhood feeder street, it would not qualify for speed humps; however, it would qualify for the Collector Street Mitigation Program. We feel that the only way to effectively lower the average speeds is with a traffic circle or other traffic-calming device along the road." To begin the process, Wilcoxon said the neighborhood would need to form a traffic committee. The city of Phoenix Street Transportation Department's Safety and Neighborhood Traffic Section would then work with the committee to develop a plan for placement and design of a temporary circle or other device. The finished design would be tested before constructing a permanent feature. "The process is free, but does require quite a bit of neighborhood input to be successful," Wilcoxon said. "I requested a volunteer to head up the committee, but have not heard back from the neighborhood representative as to whether this is something the neighborhood wants to do." For more information, contact Wilcoxon at (602) 262-4613 or kerry.wilcoxon@phoenix.gov. Corinne Frayer can be reached at (480) 898-7917 or cfrayer@aztrib.com.

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