Moving ahead in Saline on a school zone designation

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A recent look at a portion of Woodland Drive in Saline.

The request to transform a portion of Woodland Drive in Saline into a designated school zone is now underway.

After receiving some inquiries about the project from a Saline citizen, the Sun Times News (STN) reached out to city of Saline officials to get an update on the project. 

City Manager Colleen O’Toole said things are moving forward right now.

O’Toole told STN by email on July 12 that, “The pedestrian enhancements on Woodland Drive involved two parts – the first, which is already complete, was adding an enhanced crosswalk with flashing signage at Woodland and Wildwood. The second part, which started this week, is a school zone designation along Woodland Drive in response to a request from Saline Area Schools. The school zone potion of the project was not a part of the original capital improvement plan, so it took a bit longer to go through the process of having our traffic engineers review and then identify and purchase the materials.”

Part of the concern expressed by the citizen was that the project was approved back in December, but he had not seen any movement  on it since.

The origin for the designation comes in part from a letter dated Nov. 30, 2021, from Stephen Laatsch, Superintendent Saline Area Schools, to the city and police department. 

It said, “I would like to formally request that Woodland Drive, the portion of the road in front of Heritage and Woodland Meadows schools, be designated a school zone between the hours of 7:51 - 8:51 AM and 3:44 - 4:44 PM for all days when school is in session.”

In a traffic order dated Dec. 21, 2021 and approved by the police department, it was hereby ordered that, “Woodland Drive, between Maple and North Ann Arbor be designated as a school zone with a speed limit of 25mph between the hours of 7:50am - 8:50am and 3:45p – 4:45pm for all days when school is in session.”

During those times, this is a decrease in the speed limit from 30mph to 25mph.

In his memo to city council, then Police Chief Jerrod Hart gave some background on what led to this, “Due to staffing issues for the position of crossing guard, we were forced to reduce the number of crossing points from eight (8) to five (5). Concurrently, staffing issues for Saline Area Schools transportation department have resulted in the cancellation of bus routes and expansion of walking zones. As a result, both school and city staff have heard from concerned parents regarding student safety walking to Heritage and Woodland Meadows even though there is a designated crossing guard for Woodland Drive. Based on this feedback and meetings with stakeholders, it was determined the establishment of a “School Zone” be established on Woodland Drive.”

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