Two improvements alders requested to address traffic and safety concerns in front of Badger Ridge Middle School are being handled behind the scenes by city staff for now.
One, a rectangular rapid flashing beacon, will return to the Common Council with the city’s borrowing package later this spring, interim city administrator Adam Sayre told the Press.
The date was uncertain, but typically, authorization for bids goes out in May and the package gets approval in June. That would allow the beacon to be put up over the summer.
The other, Sayre told the council Monday, is additional police enforcement there and possibly elsewhere during school dropoffs and pickups.
He reported the police department calculated the cost of two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon for the rest of the school year to come up to about $10,000, something they could absorb within their budget because of staffing shortages, which have not been uncommon for the department. As a result, that did not need to return to the council for approval, as had been requested previously.
Whether that can be sustained on a long-term basis is a separate question, and he said the cost and need will be revisited before the fall semester begins Aug. 23.
Before Sayre’s report, Ald. Christine Posey (Dist. 1) lauded the police department’s efforts, citing stories from others about officers not only enforcing traffic laws but educating the public.
“It’s been a great thing to see,” she said.
The issue was discussed in detail at the council’s April 8 meeting, a month after a 12-year-old was hit by a car while heading to an after-school event. Alders decided, after hearing an exhaustive staff report, the most prudent, quick and effective long-term solution would be the flashing beacon to alert drivers when there is a crossing regardless of the time of day.
The beacon, the council decided, would also help crossing guards. It was expected to take three months or less to be available.
In the meantime, they asked the police department to help ensure drivers are following what they are asked to do through enforcement and making their presence known. Chief Bernie Coughlin told the council that would not be a problem in the short term, but it might be a difficult long-term solution.