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Keeping students safer

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The path to school may become safer for students in the future.

The City of Brazil, along with the Clay Community School Corporation recently submitted an application for the Indiana Department of Transportation's (INDOT) Safe Routes to Schools Program.

"The main goal of the program is to make the students who walk and ride their bicycles to school safer," Brazil Mayor Ann Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw added that the main focus for the program in the immediate area would be for Forest Park Elementary.

"With only one road in and one out, traffic gets congested quickly," she said. "The current plans call for an additional road to be built for passenger cars to pass through without having to go through the bus drop-off and pick-up area."

The plans propose for Bachelor Drive to be extended to the Forest Park Elementary parking lot, with the bike rack and flagpole to be moved to allow for the expansion.

Numerous streets around the school would also benefit from the program.

"There are parts of Franklin and Mechanic streets were the sidewalks are badly damaged," Bradshaw said. "The program would allow us to put in new sidewalks and curbs in those areas, as well as on Ridge Street."

The program, which would be funded 100 percent by grant money, will also create improved crossing areas on the school's property.

"The city would not have to provide any money to pay for the construction or engineering costs," City Engineer Brian Pohlar of Hannum, Wagle and Cline Engineering said. "We should receive a notice of if the grant has been approved sometime in October."

As part of the application process, surveys were sent out in May to parents and the final application was submitted on May 30. The current estimated cost of the program would be $209,200, although the grant does have a maximum amount of $250,000.

"This would be a huge benefit to the city, especially since the costs would be completely covered by INDOT," Pohlar said. "If we do get the grant, I imagine work would begin in late fall or in Spring 2009, depending on the weather."

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They also need to take a look at some of the bus stops. I know of one that is right by a convicted sex offenders house....although I either go to the bus stop with my children or watch from the corner until they're picked up, it sure doesn't make you feel very safe knowing they're right outside that house.

-- Posted by asil on Mon, Jun 30, 2008, at 10:03 AM

I think the first approach of looking at existing schools which don't have multiple ways in/out for bus drop-offs, car drop-offs, or walkers is great. Not sure how much they could do to prevent bus stops near sex offenders house. If that were implemented, wouldn't they have to just continuously monitor where sex offenders live and reroute buses constantly? That'd almost need a special agency aside from INDOT or DOJ (dept of justice) just to keep up; I would think.

-- Posted by andypflueger on Mon, Jun 30, 2008, at 1:23 PM

I realize that logistically, trying to reroute due to where offenders live would be near impossible to keep track of, however, when there are parents calling, asking to move the bus stop by one block (it does not disrupt any other stops or the route)I would think they would take a look at that particular instance.

-- Posted by asil on Mon, Jun 30, 2008, at 5:22 PM

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