District 911 bond referendum proposes modifications to student pick-ups and drop-offs

Dr. Ray Queener, Superintendent
Cambridge-Isanti School District

Public safety continues to be a priority of Independent School District 911. The safe travel of our students, staff, and parents is an important part of transportation and traffic management at our schools.

Should the communities support the $10 million bond referendum on Nov. 5, one of the most critical components being proposed is school safety. Modifying existing parking lots, drives, and sidewalks to accommodate the growing traffic numbers at our schools will help to facilitate the safe transportation of students commuting to and from school.

Dr. Ray Queener
Dr. Ray Queener

The number of parents transporting their children to and from school has continued to grow over the past 10 years. Therefore, the need to modify pick-up and drop-off areas at our schools has become more urgent.

In 2005 the District added and reconfigured parking lots at our schools that provided a physical barrier between bus, vehicle, and pedestrian traffic. The intent of the design was to provide a safe area for parents to drop-off and pick-up their children. While the barriers help students avoid crossing a lane of traffic to enter their school, the District asks all travelers to exercise caution.

Although these improvements were made to our parking lots to provide a safe route of travel for buses, vehicles, and pedestrians, additional improvements to these lots and repairs to sidewalks are needed. This will help to alleviate traffic congestion and enhance the safe transportation of all. During peak transportation times—particularly during afternoon bus transportation—our parking lots become extremely busy.

The District has studied the parking lots, drives, and sidewalks at Cambridge Primary School (CPS), Isanti Primary School (IPS), and Isanti Intermediate School/School For All Seasons (IIS/SFAS). Proposals to modify bus and parent pick-up/drop-off areas, and pedestrian travel at these schools have been identified.

Modifying the plaza and the pathway from the bus zone to the main entry is proposed at CPS. The turnabout at the main entry will be removed to eliminate traffic the runs directly in front of the main entry. The sidewalk and plaza area will be extended to provide students with more sidewalk space as they travel from their bus to the school building. At IPS, reconfiguring the front drive to provide an approach with a turn lane for traffic traveling southbound on 3rd Avenue will cause vehicles to enter the front lot with a drop-off zone that borders the school building. With this modification, students will not have to cross a lane of traffic when exiting their vehicles and accessing the sidewalk leading to the main entry of the building.

Further study at IIS/SFAS identified the need for an outlet lane at the south end of the parking lot that will reduce traffic congestion within the lot by providing an one-way exit to 9th Avenue. The proposal will also provide an extended safety sidewalk for students entering or exiting from a vehicle.

Additional repairs will be provided to sidewalks at Cambridge Primary School (CPS), Cambridge Intermediate School (CIS), Isanti Middle School/Minnesota Center (IMS/MNC), and Isanti Primary School (IPS).

The District is seeking voter support of the bond referendum to move forward with the proposed modifications to enhance safe transportation at our schools. Physical plans for these proposals are available on the District’s website.

We welcome you to learn more about the bond referendum and opportunities to attend an informational meeting by visiting http://www.cambridge.k12.mn.us/~bondreferendum/. You can also keep informed of referendum initiatives by following @Queener1 on Twitter or by calling the Superintendent’s Office at 763-689-6188.