LAYTON Parents of children who attend the new Ellison Park Elementary School, 800 N. Cold Creek Way, are both concerned and frustrated about not being able to enhance the safety of their children who walk, skate or bike to the school.
Two children have been hit by vehicles along Cold Creek Way already, one inside the crosswalk and one outside.
Parents would like a crossing guard at the school, but Layton city says the criteria to warrant one haven't been met. The Davis County School District is also hesitant about the insurance risk issues of having a volunteer crossing guard at the school.
Almost two dozen parents attended the Layton City Council meeting Thursday to voice their concerns. The council discussed the issue during its work meeting, held earlier that day, as well.
"It falls into a gray area," Layton City manager Alex Jensen said of having a crossing guard at Ellison Park, located only a few hundred yards south of busy Gordon Avenue and just east of Ellison Park's sports complex.
Jensen said state codes have specific criteria and standards to follow regarding streets and traffic. Ellison Park does not meet the criteria to warrant a crossing guard. He said if the city puts one there it fails to be objective, becomes subjective and risks setting a precedent.
"Our view is that we should not put (crossing) guards where it does not meet the criteria," he said.
He admitted that's an unpopular view, but making exceptions creates problems. The city must do it for everybody or nobody in gray areas like this, he said.
Still, he said, "There is a safety issue that needs to be addressed."
TeriLynn Jardine, one of the concerned parents, said that without a crossing guard, school children are expected to make adult decisions about when they cross the road.
Jensen said he's not trying to blame the children and he feels there must be some sort of middle-ground solution for the problem.
Because Ellison Park's facilities were not finished in time last fall, the students didn't begin classes until Oct. 1. They will still be attending until June 20 to make up for lost class time.
Traffic is compounded because Cold Creek Way is currently a dead-end road, and all traffic entering the school has to exit by the same route back to Gordon Avenue.
"We are very concerned about the safety issues," said Melody Moore, another parent. "We feel the crosswalk is unsafe for many reasons. ... We feel the children need some supervision."
She said some lots along the west side of the Cold Creek are being sold as homesites and additional homes will make traffic in the area even worse.
Moore is also concerned about some construction debris that is apparently sitting on undeveloped Layton Park property.
Mayor Steve Curtis said the city would address the debris problem promptly.
Jensen said the city can train volunteers as crossing guards, but the city does not control the decision the school district makes. He said the city will meet with the district in the next two weeks to discuss solutions to the safety issues at the school.
Councilwoman Kathy Hyde Smith, who works a lot with volunteers, said she doesn't believe the issues regarding risk management should be that much of a problem for the school district.Still, she said, "We can't have crossing guards every 10 feet."
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