Commission refuses to prohibit turns onto Virginia at Highland
Beverly Bryant - February 28, 2017 3:00 pm
The Ponca City City Commission on Monday refused to act on a request from the Ponca City Public School District to prohibit right turns by westbound traffic on Highland at Virginia during school crossing hours.
The request previously was considered by the Planning Commission earlier in February. That board, after considerable discussion, voted to allow the district to place traffic cones across Virginia at Highland to stop cars from turning at the intersection while children would be walking to and from school.
Traffic Engineering Director Mike Lane said at both the Planning Commission meeting and the City Commission meeting that the first recommendation was for a sign which noted that turns would not be allowed during the school zone hours. His fear is that such a sign would give both children and adults a false sense of security.
Tony Smith with the school district said one crossing guard covers seven separate crossings at the oddly shaped intersection. His recommendation was to place traffic cones across the Virginia during the school zone hours.
“My personal feeling is if there is enough concern to warrant the request, another adult should be there,” Lane said. “There is only one crossing guard at this intersection.”
Lane said the intersection was improved in 2011 to reduce the number of accidents. At that time, sidewalks were added across the delta between the two lanes of Virginia and Highland.
In 2011, residents of the area very clearly expressed their opinion that the intersection should remain open, not only for those living in the area but also for parents to drive students from Highland Avenue to Poplar Avenue so they could be dropped off at the back of Roosevelt School. Barricading the turn lane would prohibit that.
In discussion on the request, commissioners asked Smith about hiring a second crossing guard. He said he was not authorized to add another person.
A motion by Commissioner Nancy Rathbun to deny the request died for lack of a second.
Commissioner Lanita Chapman made a motion to table the discussion to a work session for further discussion. Her motion also died for lack of a second, which removed the item from the agenda and denied further action.