I’ve already mentioned that I think . However, I want to be clear. I love the whole area. I must travel the Northwood-Southwood-Gibbons loop a billion times a day!
OK, not really. But between living on Yale Drive and working on , shopping at , taking the kids to swimming at , and walking with them to school at Edison Elementary, I do traverse Gibbons and the loop multiple times a day. And that’s the truth.
Recently, when I was walking the dog, I noticed sandwich boards on almost every corner. I stopped to read one. It was about changing the intersection where Northwood, Southwood and Gibbons meet right near Lincoln Avenue.
Affter studying the map, I went home and looked up more information.
Apparently, there was a neighborhood petition submitted to the city about the intersection because some feel it is unsafe. They feel it’s too large, too uncontrolled and a risk to pedestrians. Alameda Public Works then applied to the California’s Safe Routes to School program and received a grant to fund changes at the intersection. (See all the proposed changes here.)
Currently, there are stop signs at Lincoln. There is also a school crossing guard there before and after school. There is a stop sign at Gibbons and Southwood and there are stop signs at the end of that block of Gibbons, the end of the loop.
Included in the first proposed changes was a roundabout. That has since changed. Now the proposed changes include two buildouts with two islands, as well as three additional stop signs, two yield signs, and some blinking lights.
After looking at the City of Alameda website, I saw that there are proposed changes for Northwood and Southwood as well. Adding islands, buildouts, stop signs, lights.
Have children been getting plowed down by cars around the loop? Did I somehow miss that news?
I'm also concerned that, with the addition of more stop signs and barriers, drivers will begin to avoid these intersections, taking alternate routes, putting even more traffic on the streets around Edison — Buena Vista, Versailles and Pearl — than there already is.
Back to the Gibbons loop. Maybe a roundabout or an extra stop sign could help calm traffic, but all the items in the current plan seems a little over the top. If this is using grant money to help keep kids safe, is all that necessary? Is it the best use of the grant funds?
At Gibbons and Lincoln, a few yards away, is a crosswalk with a crossing guard at peak school traffic hours. Go there.
Maybe beef up that Lincoln crosswalk with lights, for when the guard isn't there. Maybe do the same thing at the crosswalks on High Street and Fernside. I know kids have actually gotten hit by cars there.
Maybe we could use the grant money to somehow stop parents from parking in the drop-off lane at Edison. That way, other parents wouldn't have to double park, sometimes triple park, and make their kids weave in and out of cars to get to school.
(Seriously people, it’s painted white! Pull up, drop the kid off and pull out. Did you honestly think that space right in front of the gate was held just for you?)
With my mind open, could that grant money be better spent at another school?There are a number of other campuses on the Island that could probably use that Safe Routes to School money more than Edison.
Again, with the open mind, I can see why people would want to update the Gibbons-Northwood-Southwood intersection. I'm not opposed to it. I just think these plans are excessive.
There will be a community meeting about the project on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 at 7 p.m. at Edison School at 2700 Buena Vista Ave.