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Students' traffic safety ideas impress council members

Staff writer

Hillsboro City Council members were impressed Thursday with eight high school seniors’ proposals to enhance safety near schools.

The students, in Darrel Knoll’s senior government class, gave council members options to make Grand Ave. and Jefferson St. safer for dropping off and picking up students and for enhancing safety at crosswalks across D St. from the Tabor College campus.

Katie Rempel, Karley Lowen, and Keeley Brewer talked about the high school corner.

“Imagine you are driving down Grand Ave. dropping off your kids or your grandkids,” Karley Lowen said. “It’s kind of hard to see, and it’s a lot of chaos there.”

Crosswalks on all four sides of the intersection and better signage would help, Katie Rempel said.

Keeley Brewer showed a picture of how an SUV parked in a parking stall closest to the intersection blocked views of Jefferson St.

Adding signs and crosswalks and treating them with thermoplastic would cost $3,020, she said.

In response to questions from Mayor Lou Thurston, the girls said they didn’t believe extra lighting was necessary.

Keeley said that being a student made her and her partners aware of hazards at the intersection.

“We just wanted to do what we can do to keep people safe,” she said.

One crosswalk was removed when bricks were laid on Grand Ave.

Council members said they appreciated the ideas in the girls’ presentation.

Coming up with ideas and developing their presentation took the three about 12 hours, Keeley said.

“We worked a couple of class periods on it and we would come in to school early to talk about it, and we sent emails on it,” she said.

Keeley enjoys science, biology, and math classes and wants to attend Tabor College to study biochemistry.

She’s contemplating going into pharmacy work, but her mind isn’t completely made up.

Deon Weeks, Joshua Diener, Josh Siebert, Chris Bibens, and Wenxi Funk had safety for Tabor students in mind. Two crosswalks on D St. see heavy use certain times of day.

Not only did the boys suggest button-operated flashing lights, they also told council members about a federal grant that might pay for the project.

The light bars cost $25,000 each. To qualify for the grant, a study would need to document the number of people using the crosswalk and drivers passing down the street, the boys said.

Council member Brent Driggers wondered whether the lights would not be visible during times of east and west sunlight.

Thurston suggested that council members contact Tabor officials to see what the college thought of the idea.

Council member Byron McCarty was concerned that people might press the button and not to cross the street.

Knoll said the experience of making presentations to council members gave seniors experience with public speaking and how to make proposals.

It also gives students a closer look at the workings of local government, he said.

“It makes it more relevant to them,” he said.

He encouraged both groups to include cost and ideas for where the money could be found.

Last modified March 9, 2023

 

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