Petition drive initiated for children's safety

I'd like to call your attention to a situation which has been a hazard for both motorists and pedestrians, especially children, since the Fall City Elementary School was "improved" in 2000 and Southeast 42nd Street in front of the school was also revised.

The problem is a simple one: A choke point in traffic flow when parking occurs on the north side of the street.

Based on the local traffic along Southeast 42nd Street, i.e. cars, school buses, delivery trucks, gravel/cement trucks, emergency vehicles, etc., a wider roadway is required.

Drivers who negotiate this area find there isn't enough room to safely pass each other. Those of us who would normally travel Southeast 42nd Street during school hours have been taking alternate routes to avoid getting tangled and endangering the life of a child, especially during morning and afternoon dismissal times when the area is in a state of gridlock. However, those drivers who aren't familiar with the area aren't so fortunate.

School children attempting to cross Southeast 42nd Street are encouraged to use one of two crosswalks located at each end of the area in question. The congestion presents a danger for children stepping out into the crosswalks.

In response to concerns expressed to King County Road Services Division, the division has prohibited parking on the south side of the street. It is a step in the right direction and I thank them for taking action. However, it does not completely address the issue.

If parking along the north side of the street is imperative, then the north curb should be relocated further north.

To me, the simple and most cost-effective solution is to prohibit parking along the north curb. This action would displace the six to eight cars of school staff or volunteers at the school and require them to find parking elsewhere. From the number of empty spaces in the school parking lot that I've counted from time to time over the past month, this should not be a problem.

To my way of thinking, the sooner that cars are no longer permitted to park next to the north curb of Southeast 42nd Street, the sooner many of those who feel as I do will be able to relax. Every time we run the 250-foot gamut along this street, the horrible thought of a child darting out into our path comes to mind. It is this image which gives me the strength to keep pushing.

To this end, a petition drive has been initiated. It is directed to King County Road Services Division and requests that either the north curb be moved further north or "No Parking at Any Time" signs be posted along the north curb to achieve an acceptable roadway width for the safety of the children and motorists.

For anyone wishing to sign this petition, please contact Judy Kelley at (425) 222-5401. If you wish to express you concerns, please contact Principal Don McConkey at Fall City Elementary, (425) 831-4000, and/or Linda Dougherty, Division Director, King County Road Services Division, D.O.T., 201 S. Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98104-3856; fax (206) 296-0566; or call (800) 325-6165, extension 66590.

Judy Kelley

Fall City

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