Report Points to Safety Concerns at School Crosswalks

Bismarck, ND - Area schools need millions of dollars in upgrades to improve student safety according to a consultant team.

Bismarck, Mandan and Lincoln teamed up to study school crossing safety over the past year. The preliminary report is out, and it recommends a long list of changes.

7th grader Michele Weigel says it can be tough just crossing the parking lot at Simle Middle School.

"I came out in front and car comes and has been really close to me," she said.

It is the same story for Bridget Redder.

"It was pretty scary."

 She helps younger students cross the street at Sunrise.

"I looked left, right and left again...As I was halfway across the street a blue truck came flying at us," Redder said.

With that in mind, Bismarck, Mandan and Lincoln teamed up for a year-long study on school crossing safety.

In the report, the consultant team found 24 schools in Bismarck and Lincoln that need school speed limit signs. The signs would cost $1,137,000. Other suggestions include new crossing signs and markings. That costs $58,550. It also recommends parking and movement restriction signs for $109,275. These are just a few of the suggested changes. All of the recommendations labeled "high priority" would cost more than $1.3 million. There are hundreds--of-thousands of dollars in "medium priority" upgrades suggested as well.

"As a board we'll need to decide what to implement right away and work with the city on that," Bismarck Public Schools school board Member Jon Lee said.

There might be some help available.

"What I'm hearing is up to 80% could come from federal funds," he added.

Redder likes the recommendations like speed limit signs. 

"don't know if I've actually seen one," she said. 

She also wants more visible crossings.

"the crosswalk signs would be really helpful."

A study that focused just on Mandan schools found about $636,000 in "high priority" upgrades needed as well.


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