School zone passes a major hurdle, but questions remain - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

School zone passes a major hurdle, but questions remain

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Hundreds of parents have been pushing for it, saying the area is unsafe for their kids.

But, with public works saying no, what happens next?

A $150,000 project to install a school zone at 84th and Leighton for students attending Kahoa Elementary passed four to three at City Council Monday, but Lincoln Public Works and utilities say they can't commit due to safety concerns.

"Based on our analysis and study, the reducing down to 25 miles per hour, basically creates more of a problem with the dilemma zone. The approach and the ability to stop," said Lonnie Burklund, City Manager of Traffic Engineering.

After a long debate and a failed substitute proposal by Council Member Jane Raybould that would allow for a $75,000 comprehensive study of 12 school zones including the one on 84th and Leighton, a long awaited resolution was passed.

"850 families, voters, that live in that area and drive that street, who said it's not safe," said Council Member Cyndi Lamm.

It's been six years in the making for some families. However, it might not get done.

The city says they're already beginning to make improvements to the intersection, such as an already installed No-Right-Turn-On-Red sign for traffic making a southbound turn heading east on Leighton and a crosswalk timer extended from 21 to 28 seconds. They've even proposed crosswalk guards during school hours, improving signage and making the crosswalk more visible. There's also other solutions they'd like to study.

Council Member Jane Raybould said, "We wanted to make sure that we could implement these changes and we're working with public works, and they've agreed to implement these changes prior to the start of the school year starting Aug. 15th."

With nearly 900 signatures from those in the area, that helped push the issue and around 200 children that live on the east side of 84th street, this might put the city in a tight spot.

"I think as public officials, we have to put families first," said Lamm

So, it's still up in the air, on whether a school zone will be put in or not, and as you heard some minor tweaks have been done so far, to try and make it safer.

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