Corner near elementary school raises traffic concerns

Traffic light may be needed near Novak Elementary in Marion

Nadia Crow
Published: February 28 2013 | 4:47 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 12:04 pm in
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Some parents of students at Novak Elementary School, 401 29th Ave., want the City Council to make the walk across the street at an intersection near the school safer.

Students now use a crosswalk at the corner of 29th Avenue and Fifth Street, but parents like Dawn Christensen say heavy traffic there only gets busier during the morning and afternoon.

“Most drivers don’t pay attention to those or don’t obey those,” Christensen said of yellow crosswalk signs like the one now at the intersection.

Since the school opened in 2011, Christensen said she has been walking her children to the front door, and it wasn’t long before they witnessed a crash at the crosswalk.

Forty to 50 children walk to and from Novak every day, but only a crossing guard greets them at the intersection. Marion City Manager Lon Pluckhahn told parents, though, not to expect anything more than a stop sign there.

“If you were to put a stop sign up, you would never be able to make a left out of the school and it would back the traffic up onto the side streets and it would actually create a lot more transportation and traffic issues than exist now,” Pluckhahn said.

It would take an agreement and financial partnership with the school district to put up a costly traffic light.

After two and half years, Christensen said she wants the city and district to work together for student safety.

“What we did talk a lot about was lowering the speed limit back down so we’re hopeful that at least that will happen,” Christensen said, but there’s no timeline or budget in place right now.

Pluckhahn said he plans to speak with the Linn-Mar school district on what would be best for Novak and how to split the costs of any further signage or traffic lights.

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