School zone to gain safety features | SteamboatToday.com

School zone to gain safety features

Yampa Town Board approves crosswalk installation near elementary building

Melinda Dudley

— Portable stop signs are poised to become relics of South Routt Elementary School’s past later this fall, when Yampa’s Main Street will be emblazoned with crosswalks and proper school zone signage.

Pedestrian safety around the school has been an issue of concern for more than a decade, when efforts to get crosswalks painted began, Principal Michael Young said.

Parents approached the town about a decade ago, but they hit a roadblock because the paved right-of-way on Main Street fell under the control of the Colorado Department of Transportation at the time, Young said.

“Nothing really happened, with all the state bureaucracy,” Young said.

South Routt Elementary School custodian Lynn Laman decided to pursue the issue again at the start of the school year. After the new request from the school, the Yampa Town Board approved approximately $1,000 in school-safety improvements at its Oct. 1 meeting.

“We hope to have the crosswalks in place this fall, if winter doesn’t get set in too soon,” Yampa Town Clerk Janet Ray said.

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“There will be permanent school-zone markings in the road,” Yampa Town Board member Karen Tussey added. “We’ll be painting crosswalks right on the pavement.”

Crosswalks will be added across Main Street on the east side of the elementary school, at Third and Fourth streets.

“The town was very agreeable,” Young said. “It’s just a $1,000 project, but I think the town, with its tight budget, was happy to do what they could.”

Student safety concerns have increased since the September opening of the South Routt Early Learning Center, adjacent to the elementary school campus. The new facility has more than 50 young students in its 3- and 4-year-old programs.

“It’s especially important now, particularly because we have the preschool as well,” Tussey said.

Ruth McBride, grant writer for the Steamboat Springs, South Routt and Hayden school districts, is working on a grant application for the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which could provide additional improvements such as flashing lights to warn motorists, Young said.

At its meeting earlier this month, the Yampa Town Board also discussed the possibility of sidewalks around the South Routt Elementary School campus. The block the school now sits on has sidewalks only on the east and south sides, Tussey said.

“When they get more information, we’ll see what else can be done,” Ray said.

– To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com