Saline Creates School Zone For Safety Of SAS Children

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Saline City Council took steps to help protect Saline Area Schools students who walk to and from Woodland Meadows Elementary, Monday evening. They did this by carving out a section of Woodland Drive between Maple Road and North Ann Arbor Street, which will now be a school zone.

“As a parent who travels this route before and after school, I have witnessed how unsafe it is for children crossing the road on Woodland Drive at Wildwood Trail. I’m thankful that the City of Saline and Saline Area Schools have worked with families to move this process along. While it will take time to establish a school zone, it is important to have Crossing Guards to provide safety to the children now,” Board of Education Secretary Susan Estep said.

Susan Estep addressing the City Council.

The resolution passed unanimously by the Council was based upon a recommendation from Police Chief Jerrod Hart. The speed limit will be reduced from 30 miles per hour 25 miles per hour in the school zone, from 7:50 a.m. until 8:50 a.m. every school morning and from 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. every afternoon.

The establishment of the zone was formally requested by SAS Superintendent Steve Laatsch back on November 30. Hart responded by ordering officers to increase speed enforcement on Woodland Drive in the week of December 6. This resulted in 35 cars being pulled over and eight citations, according to a memo
prepared by Hart.

Jerrod Hart addressing the Saline City Council.

“I think this is a pretty straightforward request from the superintendent,” Hart told Council, adding his personal support for the move.

Traffic cameras will be installed around the zone to help with compliance, according to Hart.

This is the first time a school zone has been established within city limits, according to City officials, although school zones do exist for school properties beyond Saline. Board of Education Trustee Michael McVey says that he can see the crossing from his home office.

Michael McVey addressing the Council.

“My heart stops a little every time I see flashing lights outside my window because I know that there is where young children on their way to and from school each day,” McVey said, urging the Council to act.

Additional solutions suggested included repainting the faded street markings on Woodland Drive, increasing street lighting, and increasing the number of crossing guards.

The current condition of the street, in a photo provided by McVey.

“We do have $15,000,” for lighting and street crossing improvements, City Manager Colleen O’Toole said. “So, we should be making inroads, not just at this crossing, but also at LED flashing signs at nearby crossings.” These are push-button road crossing signs. “That has been quoted [by contractors] and that has been ordered to be put in place.”

Just like pretty much every industry in the world, SAS has been dealing for months with a lack of staff – including bus drivers and crossing guards. Hart said that at least two crossing guard positions are available and he encouraged people to apply.

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