A safe way back to school | EVERYTHING BREMERTON
By COLLEEN SMIDT
Bremerton Patriot Community Columnist
August 17, 2012 · Updated 4:12 PM
If you go to the City of Bremerton website, the Bremerton City Council has a list of its goals for 2012 and 2013. One of those goals falls under Streets and Sidewalks. The city says it seeks to “Use the City’s Non-motorized Transportation Plan to identify and prioritize the top three safety improvements that should be implemented around schools.”
Sunday, I took a drive around to the Bremerton school properties. These schools included Naval Avenue Early Learning Center, Crownhill Elementary, View Ridge Elementary, Armin Jahr Elementary, Mountain View Middle School and Bremerton High School. Of all of these associated school zones, only Mountain View Middle School and Armin Jahr had crosswalks within the school zones that were in good visible condition.
I have been involved with and publicly spoken of school zone crosswalks for more than two years now. It is a subject close to my heart and one that I have written about it in the past as I have interacted with three different Public Works Directors in that time. I have had multiple conversations both publically and privately with city council members, Mayor Lent, Bremerton police and various Bremerton School District leaders on the subject of school zone safety.
Over the past two years, the occasional painting of some of the crosswalks called into question has happened. Painting these crosswalks is the quickest, cheapest way in which to solve the immediate problem, but this is only a temporary solution that most times does not even last until the end of the school year on the streets that experience a high volume of traffic.
Once the winter months have passed, these painted crosswalks are back to being faded, worn off and are less visible to drivers.
The longest lasting and most effective crosswalks appear to be those that have had a thermal plastic application application. This method uses a more expensive material, but it lasts for the entire school year and well into a second or sometimes third year depending on the road and traffic volume. The city of Bremerton has a mixed bag of both thermal and painted crosswalks. It would make sense that a fewer number of re-applications would mean a reduction in the number of staff and hours that have to be utilized to maintain school zone crosswalks from year to year.
The first day of school for the Bremerton School District is Sept. 5. For another school year to begin with any inferior school zone crosswalks is really unacceptable. For such a simple, practical issue to languish this long without a set, automatic, permanent solution plan in place is also unacceptable.
The fact that I even have to write about it yet again to see a resolution is endlessly frustrating as a citizen as well as a parent of a student.
The information and photos I collected this past weekend have been submitted to the full city council with a reminder that this issue is an important part of a goal that they have set for themselves for 2012-2013.
Take extreme care when driving or crossing in school zones.