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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • School zone signal request denied

  • Leavenworth city commissioners decided Tuesday that flashing lights aren't needed for a school zone at Xavier Catholic School's preschool campus.
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    • In other business Tuesday, the Leavenworth City...
      • Heard a quarterly report about Leavenworth public schools from Interim Superintendent Bret Church. Ch...
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      In other business Tuesday, the Leavenworth City Commission:
      Heard a quarterly report about Leavenworth public schools from Interim Superintendent Bret Church. Church discussed a superintendent search, the work of a finance committee and an attempt to survey stakeholders about guiding principals.
  • Leavenworth city commissioners decided Tuesday that flashing lights aren't needed for a school zone at Xavier Catholic School's preschool campus.
    However, commissioners gave approval for moving a crosswalk for the preschool, located at 1409 Second Ave., to improve line of sight and stopping distance for drivers.
    Commissioners also supported a recommendation for removing a pedestrian crossing signal at Hughes Road and Idaho Street.
    Tuesday's meeting was a study session, but Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens said a formal vote wouldn't be needed to carry out the commissioners' wishes.
    The city requested the pedestrian crossings at Xavier preschool and Hughes and Idaho streets be studied as part of the Kansas Department of Transportation's Traffic Engineering Assistance Program. 
    The TEAP study was completed in September.
    The crosswalk for the Xavier campus had a push-to-cross traffic signal when the building housed classes for kindergarten through the second grade for the Leavenworth Regional Catholic Schools.
    Those classes moved from the building in 2011, when several Xavier campuses were consolidated to one new location. The push-to-cross signal was removed.
    Xavier moved its preschool to the Second Avenue campus in 2012. 
    At that time, a school zone was reestablished at the location. The school zone is marked with signs.
    Kitchens said the Catholic school system has requested the city add flashing school zone lights at the location. The yellow lights would alert drivers that a 20 miles per hour school zone is in effect.
    The police chief questioned whether this could lead to similar requests from residential day care centers in the city.
    Kitchens also noted that commissioners cut $20,000 that would have been set aside for the school zone lighting system in November when they approved the city's Capital Improvements Project for 2014-18.
    "So there's no funding available," he said.
    Page 2 of 3 - Kitchens also said the preschool children are not crossing the street by themselves.
    "They are not simply being left on their own," he said.
    Kitchens said it's feasible to move the existing crosswalk farther south on Second Avenue to improve line of sight.
    He suggested there could be a six-month observation phase to study the need for the school zone lights. He said commissioners would then have an opportunity to reconsider funding for such a project.
    Commissioner Larry Dedeke said he believed the commissioners would be setting a precedent if they approved school zone lights for a preschool.
    Dedeke said he can't support paying $10,000 to $20,000 for the lights. But, he would support moving the crosswalk.
    Commissioner Lisa Weakley said she doesn't think there is an inherent safety issue that warrants the installation of flashing lights.
    Mayor Laura Janas Gasbarre said she wouldn't be interested in revisiting the issue in six months. She said commissioners already have plenty of information.
    Weakley said she doesn't believe a six-month study would result in any new information.
    "You'd just be repeating what you've already done," she said.
    Gasbarre said there was a consensus among commissioners for the crosswalk to be moved.
    The pedestrian crossing signal at Hughes and Idaho streets is located behind the Leavenworth Plaza shopping center. The signal flashes yellow lights when the crosswalk system is being used by pedestrians.
    "It's just simply not used very much," Kitchens said.
    During an observation period for the TEAP study, six people were seen crossing the street at that location. None used the push-to-cross signal, Kitchens said.
    Weakley asked if the pedestrian crossing signal can be reused at another location.
    Page 3 of 3 - Kitchens said it would be cheaper to install a new signal system instead of trying to reuse the old one.
    City Manager Scott Miller said the old signal equipment will be used for parts.
     
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