“That’s always at the top of my list — student safety,” Lakeshore Middle School Principal Kevin Polston said.
A temporary method to reduce potential conflicts between cars and pedestrians is to place gates at either end of the "S curve" on Cutler/Seventh Street. These gates would be closed during the day to block traffic from using the street.
“The (Grand Haven) Department of Public Safety has issued a temporary traffic control order to try this solution out, and allow us some time to study and get feedback,” Polston said. “The idea is to have students be dropped off and picked up without crossing the street.”
Making the area safer for students has been a topic of discussion for community officials for some time. The city had discussions with the Safe Routes to School program to see about making improvements near the school, but they were unable to get money for the work because bus traffic and parent drop-off/pick-up isn’t an eligible expense.
Lakeshore Middle School has students in grades 7-8. Since the recent reconfiguration, more students have come to school via car and bus.
“Two years ago, when we were reconfiguring our school district, the number of buses coming to Lakeshore Middle School doubled,” Polston said. “What we’ve had is a crossing guard to help kids out.”
District and city officials have met a number of times to try and find a way to make the area safer for students without making too big of an impact to the surrounding neighborhood — both for residents and businesses.
Earlier this summer, a proposal was made to make significant changes to Cutler Street in front of the school, from Colfax to Park. Curbs would be bumped out at Park and near Colfax on the school side, and a fenced median would be placed in the middle of the road to create a separate lane for buses to pick up and drop off students. As a narrower road, there would be no more on-street parking on Cutler.
This idea wasn’t well received, so officials went back to the drawing board and came up with the gate plan.
Read the complete story in Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.