Sep 26, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterThere have been at least four "near miss" traffic incidents at Rendezvous Elementary School so far this year, prompting administrators to consider the safety of the building's drop-off and pick-up locations.
About 580 third- through fifth-graders are enrolled at Rendezvous Elementary this year -- up by more than 200 from last year, when 378 fourth- and fifth-graders went to school there. The building was renovated this summer to accommodate the local third-graders.
Fremont County School District 25 superintendent Terry Snyder said the increased enrollment has led to traffic congestion issues. Administrators tried to address the problem by blocking access to North Fourth Street West, which borders the east side of Rendezvous, but Snyder said parents and teachers still worried about student safety.
"This all started with a traffic study (that said) we were good to go," Snyder said. "But sometimes you have to use your own observations to make decisions."
He and other administrators had discussed the possibility of a bus turn-in on the east side of Rendezvous, but while that solution would help with traffic flow Snyder said it doesn't do enough to improve the safety situation on the west side of the school.
After considering several alternative options, Snyder said the
district now plans to extend North Sixth Street West, which currently ends at West Jackson Avenue. Instead, Sixth Street will continue north so bus drivers can drop students off between Jackson and Rendezvous elementary schools.
"They're just going to go right across Jackson straight into a drive area there, or a path area, that already exists," Snyder. "There are fences on both sides of that path area, (so) that's ready to use."
Once the students have left the bus, drivers will continue north, then turn right, passing Rendezvous Elementary to access North Fourth Street West. Snyder said the change will leave more room for parents to drop students off at the intersection of West Jackson Avenue and North Fifth Street West.
"The bottleneck is right there," Snyder said.
Parents also will be able to drop students off on Fourth Street, as Snyder said that road no longer will be closed to traffic.
"So this will give us two locations for parent drop-off areas, helping with congestion," Snyder said.
The same goes for afternoon student pick-up, he added.
He plans to install a sidewalk between the two elementary schools so students can exit buses and walk to class on a cleared pathway during winter months. The district also will make adjustments to better accommodate the 30-foot buses as they weave around Rendezvous.
"We've already started working on that," Snyder said. "We think we can have it ready to go in a couple of weeks."
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