Study recommends Latrobe Elementary crosswalks, but no new stop signs
Crosswalks, not new stop signs, are in order to improve safety near the new Latrobe Elementary School, a traffic study found.
Consultant Gibson-Thomas Engineering completed the preliminary study for Latrobe officials to address city and school district concerns about the safety of children walking to and from the school. The school opened in December on the former Old Athletic Field bordered by Lincoln Avenue and Ligonier, Cedar and Cherry streets.
Traffic counts and other factors fall short of PennDOT criteria for approving proposed three-way stop signs at Lincoln and Cherry, said Michael Gray, Latrobe interim manager and public works director.
According to Gray, most motorists who drove through that point on Lincoln averaged 38 mph. The posted speed limit is 35 mph. That difference wasn’t enough to meet requirements for a multi-way stop, he said.
The location’s history of wrecks also failed to establish a need for stop signs.
“To qualify, there has to be five or more reportable crashes in a 12-month period,” Gray said.
Lincoln Avenue qualified on the basis of the traffic count, averaging more than 300 vehicles per hour over eight hours, he said. But Cherry, a side street, fell short of the required hourly average of 200 vehicles.
“Crosswalks are definitely recommended,” Gray told council members this week. Specifically, he said, the study calls for installing a crosswalk each on Lincoln and Ligonier, where they both intersect with Cherry.
In addition to obtaining PennDOT approval, handicapped-accessible “curb ramps would need to be installed before we could put a crosswalk in place,” Gray said.
Gray said the city would need to get PennDOT approval for a proposed school zone and 15 mph speed limit during designated times on streets bordering Latrobe Elementary. Conferring with the Greater Latrobe School District, he said, the city would need to determine the extent of the school zone and placement of related signs.
City officials recently met with school district representatives to discuss pedestrian safety measures surrounding the school.
“I think the first thing was seeing what we can and cannot do,” Gray said. “We’ll probably have another meeting, and we can kind of finalize things.”
Mayor Rosie Wolford said she’d been concerned that placing a three-way stop on Lincoln would create traffic problems during times when students aren’t walking to and from school.
She noted parents driving to the school to drop off and pick up their children have greatly increased traffic there during brief periods each weekday.
“There’s a period of 10 to 12 minutes in the morning and afternoon when it’s really congested,” she said.
Wolford said parents start lining up to drop off their children a half hour before the school opens at 9:05 a.m., which results in vehicles backing up along the adjacent streets.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .