Burbank officials are in the works to create safe walking and bike routes for a few schools in the Burbank Unified School District.
The Burbank City Council voted 4-0 on Tuesday to approve an agreement with KOA Corp. to provide outreach, education and engineering services to allow city staff to develop and implement safe school routes for Washington and Jefferson elementary schools and John Muir Middle School. Vice Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy was absent from the meeting.
The approximately $490,000 project, which is mainly being funded by state grants and a 10% local match from the city, is geared toward creating an infrastructure for students to use to get to school and encourage them to walk or ride their bikes rather than being dropped off, said Hannah Woo, an associate planner for the transportation division of the Burbank Community Development Department.
The safe routes are focused on two streets — North Kenneth Road, between North Naomi Street and East Walnut Avenue, and Winona Avenue, between North Buena Vista Street and North Glenoaks Boulevard.
In conjunction with the work that KOA will be doing, Woo said city staff will continue to work with the school district, principals and PTAs, as well as hold a town hall meeting with residents to determine what the prevailing issues are around the three schools and how to mitigate them in order to create a safer environment for students who choose to walk or bike to school.
Issues that city staff members have heard from school officials and residents include speeding cars, vehicles rolling through stop signs or making dangerous U-turns and cut-through traffic on residential streets, Woo said.
There are several tools the city could implement to make walking or biking to the three schools safer. High-visibility crosswalks and school crossing signs could be installed to let motorists know of an upcoming pedestrian walkway. Curb extensions could also be put in place to help mitigate speeding cars and to create a larger buffer between vehicles and students, Woo said.
She added that the city and school district can develop walking route maps to let students and parents know where various crosswalks, stop signs, traffic signals and crossing guards are located.