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Nobel Junior High Crossing to Get Signal

Time Staff Writer

A traffic light will be installed outside Nobel Junior High School in Northridge, where two children have been seriously injured by cars since March, the Los Angeles Transportation Department said Thursday.

Parents, teachers, and students had lobbied for the light at Tampa Avenue and Merridy Street.

Senior Transportation Engineer Tom Jones said the traffic signal could be installed by the start of the school year in September, but that it may be delayed because of a backlog of approved signals throughout the city.

“We’re going to try to expedite the installation because we want to protect the schoolchildren,” Jones said. “Our desire is to get it in soon, but I don’t know how possible that will be.”

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Petitions Submitted

A spokeswoman for City Councilman Hal Bernson, whose district includes Northridge, said he will work with transportation department officials to hasten installation of the traffic signal, which was requested in petitions signed by parents and students.

Many of the 1,800 students who attend Nobel cross Tampa at the intersection by dodging traffic as they arrive and leave the school. The intersection, which has neither a stop sign nor crosswalk, was the location of March 20 and May 8 accidents in which students were knocked off their bicycles.

One student suffered a severe gash to his right leg and the other suffered neck and head injuries. They were hospitalized but have since recovered, said David Michels, a parent and member of the school’s advisory council.

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The traffic light, which will cost the city about $60,000 to buy and install, will be an “actuated signal,” turning red to traffic on Tampa after a button on one of the light standards is pressed, Jones said.

Jones said a study of the street during the rush hours found that traffic volume in the school zone was nearly double the level necessary to justify a light.

“We won, and I think that’s great,” said Bobbie Douglis, president of the PTA at Nobel. “I think they realize it is time for something to be done.”

A similar request by parents two years ago was turned down, but since then traffic has dramatically increased as more motorists use Tampa to get to and from the Simi Valley Freeway, Douglis said.

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