Audubon eyes safety improvements for kids walking to school
Hopefully soon it will be safer for kids in Audubon to get to school. The city, along with the approval of the Becker County Board of Commissioners, will be applying for a Safe Routes to School grant. Other schools and cities in the area have rec...
Hopefully soon it will be safer for kids in Audubon to get to school.
The city, along with the approval of the Becker County Board of Commissioners, will be applying for a Safe Routes to School grant. Other schools and cities in the area have received the grants over the last couple of years.
There are a couple areas in Audubon, that if they receive the grant, will be used for crosswalk improvements and sidewalks.
In the application, the city of Audubon describes how 144th Street is a county road that enters Audubon from the east. There are housing developments on each side of the street, and the city has expressed interest in slowing the speed limit in that area.
“Currently there are no sidewalks along this corridor to provide a safe connection to the school,” the application reads. Another area covered in the grant includes 4th Street, which is also a county road.
“Currently two outdated yellow caution lights are used to notify drivers that they are entering the school zone. Two crosswalks with well-worn striping paint and older signage exist at the intersections of 4th and Martin streets and 4th and Lark streets.”
The grant will include restriping the crosswalks and provide sign flashers to draw attention to the crosswalks.
Besides sidewalks, sign flashers and restructure of curb and entrance ramps at the crosswalks, the grant would also provide lighting and pathway improvements from the Sunshine Additions housing development (one of those located on 144th Street).
If granted, the projected construction date would be 2016.
County commissioners agreed that the work was certainly needed.
“It’s a pretty concerning area,” Commissioner Barry Nelson said. “It’s concerning to me as a parent (with children) going to that school.”
Code Red Alert option
Another item the county board discussed and approved last week was an additional Code Red Alert option.
County Emergency Manager Craig Fontaine said that the weather alert system addition would “give people a quicker heads up that weather is coming.”
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks the route of severe weather and those in the line of that weather - whether it’s blizzards, tornados, etc. - can be notified immediately. The way the Code Red system works now, the administration and dispatcher are alerted and they one of them sends out the message to residents. This would go directly to the residents, bypassing the middleman.
Cost of the additional program is normally $4,800 a year, but the company would like the county to test it out for one year at $2,412, which could be taken from the 911 funds.
Fontaine said there are 13,075 people signed up for the Code Red Alert system - “a pretty successful sign up rate.”
“I think it would be a good deal for our citizens,” he told commissioners, saying it would be most beneficial to citizens with only landline telephones, meaning they aren’t getting weather information on smart phones constantly.
Commissioner Ben Grimsley said he was in favor of trying the additional program for one year but wasn’t crazy about the plan in general. He said he didn’t want people getting so many weather notices that weren’t true emergencies and they start to disregard the notices. The board approved the one year trial and agreed to revisit it after that.