On the Path to Safer School Routes

On the Path to Safer School Routes

As the school year begins, local campuses turn their attention to school safety.
Neighboring schools Deer Park Middle School and Live Oak Elementary off Anderson Mill Road will extend crossing guard coverage hours at two intersections this month. Nearby school zones around Patsy Sommer Elementary, Elsa England Elementary, and Pearson Ranch Middle School in Avery Ranch will be the subjects of further improvements, audits, and studies throughout this school year – starting with a new signal in the works, slated for installation at the intersection of Neenah Avenue & Pearson Ranch Road sometime in September or October, 2018.
A meeting convened in late-June in Avery Ranch to discuss school zones and safe school routes along Pearson Ranch Road. Austin City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan, Wilco County Commissioner Terry Cook, RRISD Board Trustee Nikki Gonzales,  City of Austin Transportation and Williamson County Roads & Bridges Dept were all in attendance.
“Often the most important work we do at the city are these small on-the-ground improvements, not the big flashy ideas. I’m grateful that the city’s transportation staff and the community at-large are coming together to work on these critical safety improvements for our kids,” expressed Council Member Flannigan.
CM Flannigan and others have suggested exploring Safe Routes to School funding for potential help in a number of local school safety projects.  The City’s Safe Routes to School will conduct walk audits at each elementary and middle school in D6 in the Spring of 2019. All improvements will be prioritized into an overall plan for the district which should be ready by the end of the summer of 2019.
A number of improvements are happening or in process before then.
SCHOOL CROSSINGS IMPROVEMENT PROGRESS 2018-2019
• Deerpark Middle School & Live Oak Elementary
After several meetings between District 6 Chief of Staff Marti Bier and City and RRISD school staff members, the intersections of Anderson Mill Road & Turtle Rock Road/Broadmeade Avenue as well as the intersection where Anderson Mill Road meets the driveway to Deerpark Middle School will feature an extension of crossing guard hours to accommodate our middle school students beginning this fall.
The new hours will be: Mornings, 6:53-8:30am and Afternoons, 2:23-4pm.
• Elsa England Elementary School
The results of a 2017 traffic signal study for the intersection of Neenah Avenue & Pearson Ranch Road attest that a signal at the intersection of Neenah Ave and Pearson Ranch Road is warranted.  The design has been completed for the traffic signal, the project has been funded and awarded the contract to Austin Traffic Signal (ATS). The contractor received a Notice to Proceed and has equipment procurement is underway. The new signal will be in place within two months.
• Pearson Ranch Middle School
In a joint meeting between RRISD, City of Austin Traffic, and Williamson County Engineer’s and Sherriff’s offices, it was determined that the dedicated crosswalk would be located at Pearson Ranch Road & Iveans Way. A Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon has been requested for the location, which will undergo a study and will be evaluated in December 2018.
Also, City of Austin Traffic’s Arterial Management Division is finalizing the study report for Avery Ranch Boulevard & Pearson Ranch Road, and is recommending a signal be installed. Funding options are being explored for the signal at this time.
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Stay tuned to atxd6.org and District 6 social media for updates on these and other projects, and have a safe start to the school year!