Da Vinci Academy is working with the city toward putting in a school zone on Jefferson Street. It may be in place by the time school starts next fall.
While the street is lightly traveled most of the day, the area near the main driveway to the parking lot can get very busy during school pick up and drop off times.
“Blaine High School is right down the road so there’s a lot of cell phone traffic, there’s parents taking a left into the parking lot, there’s parents taking a right into the parking lot, there’s parents who want to take a left out of the parking lot which we try to avoid. There’s just a lot of moving parts,” said the school’s Director of Operations Holly Fischer. When you have a lot of moving parts the speed doesn’t help.”
There have been two accidents in the area since February. One was a close call caught on video from a school security camera. It missed Fischer by about 10 feet. She was monitoring traffic at the intersection at the time.
“That was frightening enough to want to do something about this area,” said Fischer. “He was definitely out of control, driving too fast. When he hit the (stop) sign it spun the car so that he didn’t hit anybody else.”
Fischer says a second accident involved a car that was trying to pass. It collided with a car turning into the parking lot.
“It’s just a lot of distraction during a very busy time so reducing that distraction by reducing the speed, I’m hoping will help,” she said.
The proposal is to reduce the 40 mile an hour speed limit on Jefferson to 20 at certain times for about a block just south of Bunker Lake Road. There would be new signage and flashing school zone lights with the goal of preventing future accidents.
“The accidents were both pretty scary for students and the families,” said Fischer.
Until the school zone is in place, Fischer is asking drivers to watch their speed during busy times.
The plans are not yet finalized. Ham Lake is working out an agreement with Anoka County to control flashing school zone lights as they do elsewhere in the county. This project is unique because Jefferson is actually not a county road.