Improve safe pedestrian access to the entrance of Hardin Park school.

Improve safe pedestrian access to the entrance of Hardin Park school.

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Ginger Powell started this petition to Boone Town Council

 

Reason:

The entrance to Hardin Park was improved for pedestrians and bikers with the completion of one sidewalk connecting from New Market Blvd. to the Hardin Park front parking lot.  This was the first time we (parents and students) gained safe pedestrian/biking access into the front of the school.  Although that addition was welcomed, we believe we are still in need of additional safety measures to address the existing natural flow of both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.  The section of road on Hwy 194 that runs from the Hardin Park front entrance to New Market Center including Perkinsville Baptist Church and Triplett and Coffey lacks several safety measures that increase the danger for pedestrians and/or bike riders accessing the school. 

Request for Action:

1.     Install sidewalks along both sides of the street between Hardin Park School and New Market Center toward Hwy 421. 

2.     Install a Hawk crosswalk at the entrance of the Hardin Park front parking lot. 

3.     Install additional crosswalks along Hwy 194 at the intersection of Hwy 194 and Perkinsville Drive (next to Triplett and Coffey), and the entrance to New Market Center.

4.     Install school zone flashing light that clearly states a 20 mph speed limit at or near the school entrance.    

5.     Install sidewalks from Hardin Park School to Fieldstream along the east side of Hwy 194.

We ask the Boone Town Council to take action to start this project NOW.  We understand it will take financing, and coordination by the Town, NCDOT, Watauga County Schools, and other agencies/groups, but it takes action from Town Council first to start and drive this project to completion.

Relatable Facts: 

1. Hardin Park Elementary enrollment has increased so it now takes up to an hour to get through the car pick up line. Many parents choose to park somewhere and walk in to the school to get their kids, and many walk or bike from surrounding neighborhoods. Most parents don't have 2 hours a day to sit in a car line, and many parents can't send their kids on the bus.

2. New Market Blvd. backs up every morning and afternoon during school pick up to the point that it is very difficult and time consuming to find a place to park and walk all the way around the school on the existing sidewalk.  The school is trying to route traffic there but it is the most time-consuming avenue to get into the school. Many parents and students choose to cross this dangerous section of 194 instead to avoid the long traffic lines.  In addition, the back up on New Market Blvd. can create a dangerous situation if emergency vehicles need to get through.

3. The existing and new apartments off of Perkinsville Drive have increased the number of people walking 194 to get to the bus stops/New Market Center and the school. We see vulnerable citizens including unaccompanied kids, families with toddlers, and disabled people walking 194 every day with speeding cars and huge trucks mere inches away from them. Many people are trying to cross anywhere but the dangerous (the markings are currently 60% gone) crosswalk at 421/194 by Hardee’s. A moped rider was hit and killed at this intersection in 2016 (https://www.wataugademocrat.com/news/police-confirm-no-charges-in-fatal-moped-crash/article_27a2b1f8-2071-5e15-8be9-4bd272a0df8f.html

4.  Many families and unaccompanied children are crossing 194 at the school entrance when the police officer is not there directing traffic.  The police do a great job directing traffic at peak times for about 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon, but especially in the afternoon people are crossing here for a couple of hours as many kids are in after school actives at the school.  Many people cross 194 at Perkinsville Dr. and north of New Market Boulevard. A legally blind Boone citizen and mother was killed crossing 194 north of the school in 2018. (https://www.wataugademocrat.com/news/pedestrian-airlifted-after-being-hit-by-truck-on-nc/article_d1fd35bb-daa2-51b9-8aa4-2a68e670094f.html  There are no crosswalks at any of these locations. It is only a matter of time before a child gets hit on 194.

5.  The previous discussion about a sidewalk on the east (Perkinsville Baptist) side of 194, is a step in the right direction, but people walk daily on both sides of 194, and more pedestrian traffic on the west side of it because it connects New Market Center to the school without having to cross 194.  Let's put the sidewalk where people are already walking.  Both sides of 194 are heavily traveled by pedestrians.

6.  Installing sidewalks on the section of 194 from 421 to New Market Blvd. has been the #1 project on the Town of Boone Sidewalk Priority list since at least 2014(https://www.hcpress.com/news/council-approves-2014-boone-sidewalk-priority-list.html  Nothing has been done on this project in 4 and a half years.  This section of sidewalk needs to extend to Fieldstream Drive where there are several apartment complexes.

 

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