Drive carefully as kids return to school
August 25, 2014
With Garfield Re-2 and Garfield 16 school districts already and session and Roaring Fork School District students returning next week, local law enforcement agencies are encouraging drivers to use extra caution.
"There's going to be a lot more bus traffic, vehicle traffic, and pedestrians," said Glenwood Police chief Terry Wilson.
On Monday, high schoolers from Glenwood to Basalt will return to school, bringing brand new drivers to town and increasing RFTA ridership. Wilson encouraged students to make use of the crosswalks at 14th Street and 15th Street in front of Glenwood Springs High School, and urged commuters to take extra care in the area.
On Wednesday, delays are expected as RFSD elementary and middle schoolers join the fray.
Students of all ages are also encouraged to dismount their bicycles at crosswalks, and those planning to cross Grand Avenue on their way to Glenwood Springs Elementary School should use the controlled intersection at 9th street.
"We've put these pieces in place to be the funnel and keep those kids safe," Wilson explained.
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Midland Avenue will likely also experience some congestion near Sopris Elementary School. It may be worth parking at a safer spot a little farther away and walking in, Wilson said, particularly emphasizing the importance of obeying the no parking signs directly in front of the school.
Until a new stoplight is installed later this fall, a Carbondale police officer will help direct school traffic at the intersection of Highway 133 and Snowmass Avenue in Carbondale. Carbondale Police chief Gene Schilling reencouraged parents to find alternate routes to Crystal River Elementary School and Carbondale Middle School when possible.
Snowmass Avenue's 15 mile per hour speed limit will be enforced from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, as wil limits along Highway 133 and 20 mile per hour school zones throughout Glenwood.
"We plan on being out in force," said Wilson. "You're not going to get much leeway in those school zones."
For those with business across town, it's worth planning ahead and potentially finding an alternate route around school zones. Even outside of school areas, folks should be on the lookout for kids walking, biking, and busing to school.
Bus drivers carry radios and frequently report folks that pass a bus with its stop sign out, which is against the law whether they're in your lane or across the street. That also applies to bicyclists, who are obliged to obey the rules when they're riding on the road.
In the end, it comes down to safety.
"Kids can appear suddenly, quickly, and where least expected," said Wilson. "Slow down, be careful, and take your time. We'd rather write a million tickets than have one injured child."