Going Dutch: Saliman Road to get new kind of crosswalk

A crosswalk common in other parts of the world but new to Carson City will span five lanes of traffic in front of Carson High School in response to parents' concerns about student safety - but not by the time school starts Aug. 24.

Transportation officials are planning a Dutch-offset crosswalk on Saliman Road, where dozens of teenage students traverse the street daily and near the spot where a girl suffered a broken arm in a run-in with a car that led parents into a pedestrian-safety campaign.

City officials awarded a 90-day contract to build the walkway in mid-July, meaning it may not be finished until the middle of October.

The Dutch design consists of a median with a path cut into it that will force pedestrians, half-way across the street, to face and walk toward oncoming traffic before continuing to the other side.

The design promotes eye contact between drivers and pedestrians, said Carson City Senior Engineer Harvey Brotzman, making each more aware of the other and increasing safety immensely.

Railings will also likely be installed around the median, said Deputy Engineer John Flansberg, to prevent pedestrians from hopping over the median and continuing as the crow flies - a design element that could be costly to maintain.

"Anything you put in the street, you have to worry about it getting hit," Brotzman said.

Along with a new crossing and lit-up overhead warning signs, transportation commissioners voted in May to create a 15 mph school zone in front of Carson High, which had been the only school in the city without its fronting street designated as a school zone.

Speed limits on the rest of Saliman Road will increase from 25 mph to 35 mph.

Current construction - the laying of a pipeline that will send treated wastewater to Mills Park in an effort to maximize resources - will be finished in front of the school Friday, three days before teachers are scheduled to be back and five days before students. Crews will still be laying the pipe along Saliman from Telegraph Street south to Little Lane, however.

Work on the crosswalk won't block traffic completely on Saliman Road, said Deputy City Engineer John Flansberg, but it will reduce the road from four to two lanes from time to time.

"The public should allow for a little additional time getting to school in the mornings," Flansberg said.

Repaving of Saliman Road is scheduled for spring.

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at cmcconnell@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.


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