Signs near Riverview School to warn of children present
Garfield County will place cautionary signs along County Road 154 near the new Riverview elementary and middle school south of Glenwood Springs to advise that children and other pedestrians are present.
Any long-term solutions to provide better bicycle and foot access to the just-opened school, or to designate that stretch of road as an official school speed zone, will take some coordination with multiple entities, county commissioners advised at their Monday meeting.
Parents have brought their concerns to Roaring Fork Schools and county officials about the lack of a safe pedestrian route to the newest of the district’s schools, located just south of the 154 Road/Colorado 82 intersection.
The new preK-8 school is one of several facilities paid for by a $122 million bond issue that was approved by voters in 2015.
Project officials decided not to build a separate foot and bike path along the main entryway into the school, called Flying M Ranch Road, until off-site trail connections could be built or other safety improvements made.
In the meantime, students are being advised not to bike or walk to school unless they are accompanied by an adult. After school lets out in the afternoon, those students must wait to leave until traffic clears from the entry road.
“We ride our bikes from our home in Ironbridge to Glenwood and Carbondale all the time, and it would be nice to make that road safer for bicyclists,” one parent, Janis Taylor, said before the commissioners, referring both to 154 and County Road 109 that access the Ironbridge and Westbank neighborhoods.
Riverview School was built to serve those and other large population centers south of Glenwood, and to ease some of the pressure on Sopris Elementary and Glenwood Middle School.
“I would like to see anything that would make it safer for mine and other kids who frequent that area,” Taylor said.
To help in the interim, she said she has written a letter of support for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office to obtain a grant to buy an electronic speed sign that would warn motorists who are going too fast past the school.
Speeding is a problem on the roads in question, said Wyatt Keesbery, road and bridge director for the county.
“I went out there with [Deputy County Manager Fred Jarman] last week to watch, and there wasn’t one vehicle doing 25,” Keesbery said of the posted speed limit. “The slowest was probably 40.”
An official school zone that would lower the speed limit to 20 mph during morning and afternoon times when children are present, as well as designate crosswalks, will take some time to plan and engineer, he said.
However, signs warning motorists to be aware that children and other pedestrians are present is something that could be done in short order, he said.
Commissioner Mike Samson encouraged his fellow commissioners to address the issue sooner rather than later.
“Obviously, more things are going to have to be done in the future, and that’s going to take some time,” Samson said. “My concern is the short term, and doing something to help people realize there’s a school there.”
Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, who lives in the Westbank neighborhood, said it’s also on the school district to make sure people know there is a new school in the vicinity. Currently, there is no sign at the entryway or other indication of the school, he said.
“They have some work to do on this, as well,” Jankovsky said.
The school district has been working with a local land-use planner, along with the county and neighboring property owners, to come up with a long-term access solution. It is also working with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, managers of the nearby Rio Grande Trail, to build a connecting path to the north of the school.