An evaluation of school crossing guard locations across Lawrence is almost done, and the city’s Multi-Modal Transportation Commission will discuss the latest recommendations for crossing guard placements during its meeting on Monday.
As previously reported, city traffic engineers have proposed new criteria to choose crossing guard locations. Staff recommends removing crossing guards at 10 intersections and keeping or adding guards at 16 intersections based on the new criteria.
The changes would take effect at the start of the school year if approved by the Lawrence City Commission, which is scheduled to review the proposal as part of the Safe Routes to School plan update at its meeting Aug. 10.
Here is a searchable database of intersections and changes included in the proposal:
The MMTC tabled the issue at its June 7 meeting after commissioners voiced concerns about safety and equity. They also requested staff add weighting criteria and revise the crossing guard recommendations into a ranked list of locations.
Information in the agenda packet shows the crossing guard recommendations use the transportation-disadvantaged population analysis, which includes “low-moderate income households, minorities, individuals with mobility disabilities, individuals with less than a high school education, single parent households, zero vehicle households, youth, and senior citizens to evaluate potential crossings.”
At the June meeting, Commissioner Erin Paden said requiring a minimum number of students to cross an intersection before placing a crossing guard seemed backwards. She cited the bustling intersection of Clinton Parkway and Inverness Drive, located within a half-mile of four public and private schools. A pilot study is now proposed for the intersection based on potential crossing data. A guard will be placed there and reevaluated during the 2021-2022 school year.
Although city staff members have acknowledged the public’s concerns about pedestrian safety, they’ve also encouraged creativity — such as organizing walking school buses and volunteers — at locations that don’t meet criteria for crossing guards.
The crossing guard program is funded by the city for $107,000 annually. A report in the MMTC’s March agenda meeting packet suggests sharing the cost with the Lawrence school district.
The MMTC will meet at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2, at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. Find the full meeting agenda and related documents here.
Watch the live MMTC meeting via livestream here. Written public comments can be submitted via email to MSO@lawrenceks.org before noon Monday, Aug. 2. To register to make public comments during the meeting via Zoom, sign up here.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the public is encouraged to participate remotely. Individuals who attend the meeting in person must wear masks and maintain social distancing at all times.