Central Coast

Dear Jon: Student safety questioned on nearby streets in Salinas

A lack of school zone signs concerns mother

Traffic around schools is strictly enforced with crosswalks, traffic signals, traffic signs, crossing guards and speed limits. But in some cases this may not be enough. Monica from Salinas sent me an email and asked, "Dear Jon, why are there no school zone signs posted near Boronda Meadows Elementary on North Davis Road, nor a crossing guard? Parents want answers!"

That's understandable and after investigating this from several different angles, school signage for Boronda Meadows Elementary on North Davis Road is questionable; minimal at best.

Access to Boronda Meadows is actually located on Larkin Street in Salinas. Larkin is a short feeder street off of North Davis Road, but more like a long driveway to the school, where there is a traffic signal with crosswalks. According to the Salinas Transportation Planner, the traffic signal is the only required safety measure for students who cross North Davis Road. He says it's the strongest control they can have there to protect students.

There are school signs on North Davis Road in the northbound direction with a 45 mph speed limit, but no markings on the road itself as you approach Larkin Street. There is a diamond traffic warning sign for the bend in the road with a posted 30 mph speed limit. But as you approach Larkin Street from the southbound direction, the posted speed limit is 35 mph and there no school signs posted nor are there any school zone markings on North Davis Road itself. Why? Because, I'm told the school is actually on Larkin Street, not North Davis Road.

But wait, there's more, Boronda Meadows Elementary has many students that attend from the Boronda community north of the school, that's about a mile away. As students walk north on North Davis they walk up Post Drive and cross Calle Del Adobe. That intersection is actually in the county. So Monterey County is responsible for your student's safety as they walk to and from school.

The county traffic engineer tells me the school is more than 600 feet away from this intersection, so no school signage is required.

So the city and the county tell me they're doing all that's required. But parents don't think it's enough. After surveying this myself, it's clear to see the parents concern.

What about a signal guard at the North Davis and Larkin Street intersection during school hours? The Salinas City Elementary School District has deferred that position to the city and the city has no money, so no crossing guard at Davis and Larkin.

It's a conundrum to be sure, but suffice to say now that I've made calls to all parties tasked to do what they can for student safety as they walk to and from school, we'll see if they react to parents' concerns.

If you have a question or concern you'd like to ask about, email me at DearJon@KIONRightNow.com or on the link above. I'm also on Facebook at "Jon K Brent KION" and Twitter at "DearJonKBrent."

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