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City addressing traffic safety concerns around St. John Paul II School

Rapid flashing beacon lights will be installed this summer in an effort to improve the safety of students attending St. John Paul II school in Arbour Hills. Parents and the school board raised concerns about the traffic infrastructure surrounding the school late last year.

There were particular concerns with a crosswalk at 132 Avenue and 108 Street. Transportation Safety Engineer and Supervisor Robin Hutchinson says this newer technology is expected to be installed by the time students are back to school in the fall.

“This summer the city will be installing a new controlled pedestrian crossing that will incorporate rapid flashing beacons on the north and south verge. These are pedestrian activated so a pedestrian with push the push button unit and the lights will start flashing. We do have a contract out and as soon as the weather permits we will be installing those.”

Hutchinson told the Infrastructure and Protective Services Committee that the rapid flashing beacons have a price tag of $15,000 which is much less that a full set of lights that could be torn out in the future should the road be expanded. He called this a “quick win” for the city and the school. These new style of lights will be installed at seven locations around the city this summer.

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The national scoring system used by the city to rate and prioritize locations gives this intersection a 49 and usually a score of 100 is needed to justify signal upgrades. Hutchinson says the request for signals will start once they reach that 75 or 80 point mark but at this point estimates show it would be about ten years away.

“Based on recent growth we would say that the installation of signals is a long way out. However, because of the development that been undertaken on Arbour Hills Boulevard, Royal Oaks and with the new school it’s highly likely that that time will be reduced and we’ve made a commitment to monitor those traffic volumes.”

Superintendent Karl Germann has said even now drop off and pick up time can be quite hectic. He expects it will get worse in the fall with more students and also at that time the area will act as a main northern regional transfer hub for school busses. Currently that transfer hub exists at St. Joe’s and will be broken into two.

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