Soquel Parents Want A Plan For New Crosswalk

County and school district are working together on the issue

SOQUEL, Calif. - Give us a crosswalk before a child is killed.  That's the message from some parents in a Santa Cruz neighborhood, as community leaders look for solutions to fix a busy road.  Now county leaders are weighing all sides of the issue as they try to come up with a plan.
It's a story we first told you about last month after parents voiced their concerns over the lack of a crosswalk in front of Main Street Elementary School in Soquel.  Parents are outraged because there isn't a crosswalk right in front of the school and they said kids dodge cars on their way to and from school.  In the meantime -- they even came up with their own system for getting kids across the street safely.

Now Santa Cruz County officials said they want to help parents find an answer to keep these kids safe. 

The deadly 15 -- that's what parents call those hectic minutes as kids start and end the school day.  It's been 21 years since Main Street Elementary was built and some said it needs the same kind of safety enhancements seen at the middle school.

"Noticed today that we have three sign coming in, neon signs, two crosswalks, a CHP officer with a radar gun reminding us we're in a school zone and that we should be aware," said parent Lauren Wickman.

Some note the school and the county both haven't followed through on some proposed safety plans over the years.  The school district said it's working on a study to spot safe routes for kids to walk to school.

"Just sit right there in that corner from 2:45pm-3:00pm and that's all the studying you need.  That's it!  Kids are running across the street, no crosswalks, nothing!" said parent John Cannon.

As you approach the school, there is a sign in both directions letting you know there's a school nearby.  But there isn't any indication of where those kids might be crossing.  The county said it's come up with a plan to take $6,000 dollars, set aside for improvements to Main Street, and put a crosswalk.  The district said there's still the issue of how it'll affect people living nearby.

"Traffic patterns are complicated.  When you start changing traffic patterns in a neighborhood, you will have a different group who has a different interest and you have to make sure you meet all regulations," said Soquel Union Elementary School District Superintendent Henry Castaniada.
County supervisor John Leopold said if parents and neighbors decide a new crosswalk is the best solution, they could have it installed by the end of this school year.

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