Archive for Thursday, August 15, 2002

An extra measure of school zone caution good in Eudora

August 15, 2002

School starts Friday in Eudora. This is a time editors routinely remind readers to exercise extra caution during morning and evening drives, as youngsters make their way back and forth to school.

We'll do our duty. Be aware of children during the sometimes-sleepy early morning hours and brain-drained after-work drives. Remain cautious as the year moves on when the rising sun can be blinding during morning drive times.

Our concern is heightened because of the less-than-pedestrian-friendly locations of Eudora's newer schools and the scarcity of sidewalks that serve them. Those schools were built on the city's outskirts in anticipation of future growth and the simple reason that was where land was available. The current high school and the one that will replace it are located at sites that discourage pedestrian traffic, with the exception of those living in the Shadow Ridge or Meadowlark subdivisions. But, as we have observed, that does not stop students from walking or biking to the school. That will become more of a concern when what is now the high school becomes the district's middle school, and the one centrally located school closes.

The city plans to link the south campus to the city with a walking trail that would include if the Kansas Department of Transportatoin approves and funds a pedestrian bridge over K-10. That project is on hold pending implementation of Mayor Ron Conner's plan to widen that section of Church Street from Kansas Highway 10 to the current high school to a four-lane divided road.

We see less planning near the eight-year-old West Elementary. Twelfth Street is without sidewalks, as are many of the residential streets that link to it. We note developers of new subdivisions directly to the west of the elementary school installed sidewalks along Winchester Road. Although we applaud the move, we wonder if that kind of development-driven improvement will be adequate on a street that will face increased development pressure with its impending surfacing. Hopscotch development on the road or to the west could lead to sidewalks that appear and disappear along the Winchester-like desert streams, and, perhaps, force youngsters on and off a busy street. We would like to see a more comprehensive sidewalk plan like the one that would link the south campus to the city developed for the west side.

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