Borough works toward winter school route off highway
Haines Borough officials are planning to buy a snowblower and build a new trail to improve safety for students walking near the school.
The project is the outgrowth of the Safe Routes to School committee, which in June drew up its first plan. It included moving students off the Old Haines Highway near its intersection with Third Avenue, and up onto property adjacent to the high school track.
Borough facilities chief Brad Maynard said he’s hoping to buy a piece of utility equipment that could clear a path six to eight feet wide with a snowblower attachment, but also be fitted with a mower and broom. "It would serve multiple purposes for the borough."
A tractor recently purchased by the school isn’t stout enough for the job, he said.
Before winter, the borough also would lay culvert and build a path connecting the highway to the edge of the school track, diverting students off the highway. The pedestrian route would initially traverse the track, but might eventually parallel it, he said.
Money for the new machine might come from the borough’s equipment fund, he said.
Other elements of the Safe Routes to School plan include creating a protected pedestrian walkway in front of the pool, and eliminating parallel parking along the ditch there and perpendicular, administrative parking at the front of the school. Administrative parking would become a drop-off zone until 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m. and serve as visitor parking between those hours.
Administrative and staff parking would be restricted to parking lots, including in front of the pool.
Police chief Gary Lowe has endorsed eliminating the perpendicular parking during student loading times, but school officials haven’t approved that part of the plan.
School superintendent Michael Byer said, "We need to look at that more completely and the ramifications of that. We need parking for the handicapped up front. We have to consider those kinds of issues, too."