WARSAW — At the Warsaw Traffic Safety Commission meeting held Wednesday, March 7, Chief Academic Officer Dave Robertson spoke about the expansion of the Harrison Elementary school zone.
“Last month the commission approved the expansion of a school zone for Harrison Elementary School,” said Robertson. “We are in the process of transitioning many of the neighborhoods along Husky Trail to walk zones for the students who live there. We just wanted to inform the Traffic Commission on where we are potentially looking at those walk zones in the Harrison Elementary School area.”
“We’re working to make sure that the crossing of Husky Trail is a safe crossing – that’s our biggest concern,” Robertson told WTSC members. “We will pay staff to do what we call a walking school bus.” Robertson said this will start north of the school, at Canterbury House Apartments.
“We have about 43 students who live there who don’t all ride a bus – they would meet a staff member at a designated time, just like a regular bus stop, and the staff member will accompany them to school, picking up any other students along the way,” Robertson explained. “Most of the population is in Canterbury along this walk zone.”
Robertson said they are pursuing putting in lights at the crosswalk.“We want to make sure we do everything safely.”
Mike Swanson, director of plant operations at Kosciusko Community Hospital, approached the WTSC about a potential crosswalk on Provident Drive, near the Beyer Building.
“We want to provide safe passage for our staff from one side of Provident over to the hospital,” Swanson said. “We looked all down Provident to find a space best suited for a crosswalk. We feel in this area we don’t have as much traffic coming in and out of drives and you can see for quite a distance.”
Commission members voted to table this issue until the next meeting and asked Swanson to provide further information, such as a diagram showing the exact location with specific measurements, in order to assist them in making an informed decision.
Warsaw Assistant City Planner Justin Taylor shared that the city has received a $1.1 million dollar grant to extend walkability and sidewalks to the west of Lincoln Elementary School.
“Today I want to look at improvements we’d like to make to bike lanes around the city to create enhancements and increase the bike-ability of our community,” Taylor stated.
He discussed different options for bikers and pedestrians, including mixed use paths, bike lanes and sharrows. Taylor said mixed use paths are the most ideal situation but are cost prohibitive in many areas.
When Taylor mentioned a proposed bike lane on North Harrison Street, Warsaw Police Chief Scott Whitaker commented that there are no sidewalks in that area and that he felt that in an area such as this, sidewalks would be of higher importance than a bike trail.
“We’re looking to do bike paths but we don’t even have sidewalks. Would the pedestrians be on the bike path?” Whitaker asked.
“Part of the issue we’ve had in this area is that there’s quite a bit of grade. We wouldn’t really be able to do a sidewalk in that area unless we put up a retaining wall in a lot of the spaces,” said Warsaw Street Superintendent Jeff Beeler. “Another thing is that we’re targeting the large majority of sidewalk improvements to areas associated with where children would be walking to and from school. Harrison is more an area of connecting cyclists to the shared use paths.” Beeler added that walkers could actually go through Hodges Addition.
Taylor asked commission members to review the proposed plans and give input regarding questions or concerns with the implementation of proposed bike lanes and sharrows.
Cindy Dobbins brought up an issue related to the roundabout on Husky Trail. “It was brought to my attention that some people are going through the roundabout in the wrong direction,” said Dobbins.
WTSC members discussed putting up a sign to make the direction of the roundabout clear. They agreed to look into this further.
- The swearing in of Warsaw Traffic Commission members will be done at the April meeting due to Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer being unable to attend the March meeting.
- The next regular meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 4.