GREENVILLE – The committee to plan the construction of the future K-8 school for Greenville City Schools met on Friday morning to discuss changes to the plans to help children get safely to and from school.
The representatives from the schools, city, law enforcement and engineers considered various options for signals, sidewalks and crosswalks, specifically, which parts of the plans would be eligible to be submitted for funding under Safe Routes to School.
Safe Routes to School is a federal grant program administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation to provide funding for projects that encourage and enable students from kindergarten to eighth grade to walk or ride their bikes safely to school. The eligible projects can include such improvements as sidewalks, crosswalks and signals, as well as educational programs.
The plan includes crossings at Orchard Drive and East Main Street, crossings at North Ohio Street and East Main Street, and a probable crossing at North Ohio Street and Greenmoore Court.
The school plans construction of a walking path from the cul-de-sac on Orchard Drive through to the southeast corner of the lot to allow students coming from the east to have access that would not require circling around to the west side of the property.
Committee members discussed alternatives available to enable students to cross North Ohio Street at Greenmoore Court. Possibilities included a traffic light or a pedestrian crossing. Greenville Police Chief Dennis Butts noted that a pedestrian crossing equipped with signals and lights would be as enforceable, from a law enforcement standpoint, as a traffic light, with traffic on North Ohio Street required to yield for pedestrians in the same way that drivers are required under law to yield to pedestrians at the traffic circle.
The committee also discussed the alternatives for the types of pedestrian crossings available. The consensus was a preference for an automated signal that detects the presence of a pedestrian in the crossing rather than a manual option that requires the pedestrian to push a button to trigger the signal.
Another topic of discussion was how to prevent students from creating shortcuts to bypass the designated routes to school. Greenville City School Superintendent Douglas Fries said the school would man the expected areas of violation, and signage also would be posted. In addition to those anticipated areas of violation, all agreed that the best course of action would be to observe the area once the school is open to determine where students were following alternate routes and address them as needed.