Opinion

Don't wait for traffic accident to be impetus for action

school traffic My husband, young son, and I live at the bottom of NE 156th Street and 216th Avenue NE, the western approach to Eastridge Elementary School. Every weekday morning, I witness cars, delivery vans, and buses whizzing up our street at speeds well in excess of the 20 mph speed limit dictated by signs on 216th Avenue (signs call for 20 mph when children are present and 25 mph otherwise).
   And as these cars, vans, and buses drive down NE 156th, they appear to drive even faster, no doubt because of the slight crest at the top of the hill.
   These people are unknowingly jeopardizing the safety of the children walking up NE 156th to school, the safety of the crossing guards at the bottom of the street, and the safety of all neighborhood children and pets.
   The western entrance to Eastridge Elementary School, located at the end of NE 156th Street, was built as and intended to function as a secondary access to the school. I re-emphasize, secondary. The main entrance to the school is through the Saybrook development, on the eastern side.
   Only a handful of buses are supposed to use the secondary access. Any drop-off traffic should be relegated to the eastern side unless the parents live in the immediate vicinity and, in that case, parents should be encouraged to set up car pools within their own neighborhoods to help limit car traffic.
   By encouraging their own children to walk or bike whenever possible, parents can help reduce the number of daily car trips made to the school.
   A land-locked school, such as Eastridge, invites people to create shortcuts to save time. But at the expense of safety.
   Currently, local traffic (parents, neighbors, contractors, delivery vans) cuts through the school parking lot. The school parking lot was never intended for use as a connector between the eastern and western sides of the school.
   Neither NE 156th Place on the eastern side or NE 156th Street on the western side are considered through-streets. And it's noteworthy that the speed limit as you enter the parking lot is only 5 mph. Cutting through the parking lot needlessly endangers lives.
   What can we do to encourage people to drive within the speed limit when traveling to school? Threaten the use of radar guns? Install speed bumps? Have King County post more signs like the one located on nearby NE 165th Street? It pleads to "Please Drive Carefully for Our Children's Sake--Speed Limit 25 mph."
   How about preventive measures. Parents should allow enough time in the morning to prepare for the journey to school. Rushing around at the last minute is likely to result in speeding to get to school on time.
   Deliveries to the school should be made through the primary access. Using the school parking lot as a connector should be discouraged.
   We can't wait for a tragic accident to be the impetus for action. For our children's sake.

Carolyn M. Davids, Woodinville