"We're the retail school." That's how principal John F. Zurbuchen describes North Layton Junior High.
At 1100 W. 2000 North, this school of 1,330 students is surrounded by retail growth and sits along busy, four-lane Antelope Drive. Eagle Hardware, Tunex, Grandma's Tires, a Chevron and a Phillips 66 are directly across the street. SuperTarget, Toys R Us, Carl's Jr. and many other stores are found just up the street.An IHC medical center is on the school's west side, and the city's famed "Restaurant Row" begins southwest of the school. A wedding reception center is on the school's east side and several busy I-15 ramps are found a few hundred yards north.
All these stores - the most around any Davis County school - are combined with a 40-mph speed limit, no school zone and no crossing guard.
"It's a concern," Zurbuchen said. "It'll only get worse."
He said many drivers race in front of the school trying to get through all the traffic signals.
Zurbuchen said the school's PTSA is currently studying pedestrian safety and is planning a March 11 meeting on the issue. Zurbuchen said the group could end up taking their concerns to the Layton City Council and also to the Utah Department of Transportation, as the portion of Antelope Drive in front of the school is a state road.
Layton City Manager Alex Jensen said all the provisions for pedestrian safety are already in place at the school, thanks to existing traffic signals. He's not sure what else could be done that would futher enhance the safety of students.
Jensen said he's never had contact with any parent, the school or school district involving any concern for pedestrian safety there.
Like everywhere else in the city, he said the Antelope Drive traffic has dramatically increased as the result of population and retail growth.
"That happens everywhere you go," Jensen said.
Zurbuchen admits the traffic signals do help, but the PTSA committee wants to be sure there isn't a safer option.
He said Lincoln Elementary School, some 600 yards to the east, does have a school crossing guard, though its hours of operation only cover about half the time junior high students are walking through the area.
Approximately half of North Layton students are bused. The other half must walk. The most recent accident at North Layton was last fall when a student on a bicycle was struck by a car. She was only shaken up.
When North Layton Junior High opened in 1969, it replaced pasture land but was still in a very rural setting. The commercial growth has exploded in the past five years.
Besides North Layton Junior High, North Davis Junior High on State Street in Clearfield also lacks a school zone and crosswalk. The school does have a traffic signal, located just to the north at 700 S. State.
However, the area around North Davis doesn't have as much retail development or traffic as North Layton. The other 12 junior highs in Davis County have school zones and crosswalks.
Northridge Junior High, about a mile away to the northeast from North Layton Junior, has flashing school zone lights. Zurbuchen said that's because the school lacks nearby traffic signals on Hill Field Road.