MVHS traffic changes take effect this week - The Explorer: Import

MVHS traffic changes take effect this week

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Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 12:00 am | Updated: 7:49 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Jan. 12, 2005 - New ordinances lowering the speed limit in front of Mountain View High School to 25 mph, prohibiting jaywalking and limiting certain types of vehicle turns will take effect Jan. 13 when several signs are posted near the intersection of Linda Vista Boulevard and Thornydale Road in Marana.

The Pima County Department of Transportation announced its work crews will post the signs the morning of Jan. 13 following recent meetings in which the Pima County Board of Supervisors passed the new ordinances.

The newly established speed limits on Linda Vista will be 45 mph from Hartman Lane to Camino de Oeste, 35 mph from Camino de Oeste to 500 feet west of Gyor Place, 25 mph 500 feet west of Gyor Place to Thornydale Road, and 35 mph from Thornydale Road to 2,670 feet east of Thornydale.

The department of transportation conducted a Nov. 23 study of the segment of Linda Vista Boulevard adjacent to the north side of Mountain View, finding that a reduced speed limit would enhance the safety of both pedestrians and motorists.

Signs will be posted prohibiting pedestrians from crossing Linda Vista except at marked crosswalks located at the intersection of Thornydale Road and Linda Vista, and one-quarter mile west of Thornydale on Linda Vista where a pedestrian crossing signal is planned for installation in March.

Signs also will be posted prohibiting vehicles from making right turns on red lights at all four approaches to the intersection of Thornydale and Linda Vista from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Also, northbound and southbound U-turns on Thornydale will be prohibited as well as left turns from Thornydale onto Linda Vista without a green arrow.

The ordinances will take effect as soon as the signs are posted, said Annabelle Quihuis, Pima County Transportation Department spokeswoman.

Lt. Sandy Rosenthal, commander of special operations at the Pima County Sheriff's Department, said officers will be on the scene to enforce the ordinances immediately. There will be no "grace period."

"When the signs go up, we will be there," he said, characterizing enforcement efforts as "extremely strict." If the ordinances alone don't deter speeding motorists, Rosenthal said, his officers will.

"We're hoping it doesn't require law enforcement to get compliance," he said. "We expect the citizens will be supportive of the ordinance and we won't have any problems. My goal is that we write zero citations."

The traffic changes, which already have had support from the community for some time, signal a culmination of community efforts to increase student safety on Linda Vista Boulevard since an Oct. 1 accident that left 15-year-old MVHS sophomore Talin Rogers in a coma.

Rogers was struck by a car traveling 45 mph as he walked in a marked crosswalk on Linda Vista. He remained in a coma for almost seven weeks following the accident, but emerged just before Thanksgiving.

Sue Koepke, a family friend of the Rogers, led the drive to collect 8,909 signatures from concerned members of the community, which she says helped the Board of Supervisors make its decision.

Mountain View High School officials said they're working this week to inform parents of the changes being made. A message deterring students from jaywalking and informing motorists of the upcoming speed limit change was posted on the school's marquee this week.

Koepke said parents might be shocked when their children come home from school with $115 tickets for jaywalking, which is why she has taken measures to inform parents and students of the new laws. Letters are being mailed to all parents of Mountain View High School students, officials said.

"They'll probably be the ones paying the fine if their kids come home from school with a jaywalking ticket," Koepke said. "And they're probably going to be pretty upset."

The MVHS video club also conducted a taped interview with Rogers this week and plans to air that video throughout the school on Jan. 13 or 14 to help send the message that students must be careful and cooperate with the new ordinances. Each classroom at Mountain View is equipped with a television.

Koepke said Rogers is in a rehabilitation center recovering from "a lot of bodily injuries and brain injuries." She said Rogers has a limited ability to talk, but recently expressed his support of the new ordinances.

"He said he doesn't want anyone to end up in the hospital like he has," she said.

In a Jan. 7 meeting between sheriff's department officials and school administrators, Koepke said she discussed how to best reach students and parents to inform them of the new ordinance. They originally thought of informing students at an upcoming pep rally Jan. 14, but later decided the classroom is the best tool to reach students.

Koepke said she's gotten mixed emotions from the sheriff's department. Some officers have told her they're going to focus on safety, she said, while others have taken a "be careful what you wish for" stance, saying that the thousands who signed the petition might be the ones angry when they get ticketed.

"They said they're going to strongly enforce this for the first couple of weeks and really crack down hard," she said.

The cost of the crossing signal planned for installation in March is being split between the county and Marana Unified School District, Koepke said. It will cost about $75,000 to $85,000, half of which will come from MUSD's Adjacent Ways fund, she said.

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