Changes Coming To Street Outside Watertown SchoolsPosted: Updated:
Despite the flashing signs, drivers exceed the 20 mile per hour speed limit in the school zone on Washington Street.
"I've been superintendent here for 13 years and over that time there's been a lot of accidents here. None of them fatal but still very very serious," said Terry Fralick, Watertown City School District superintendent.
The most recent accident happened in March. Jaden Thomas was hit by a car and injured while crossing the street in front of Jreck's Subs.
"This most recent incident and all the culmination of the previous incidents made it very obvious that we had a job to do and that was try to make the road safer," said Mayor Joe Butler.
City council gave the green light to the city engineering office, which has been working with a consultant from Syracuse to go ahead with a plan to make changes to the street.
This summer, Washington Street will be changed from four lanes to two lanes with a middle turning lane.
The city will also eliminate a crosswalk and another at Elm Street.
Other plans include repainting faded crosswalks and adding more signs.
"We want to make sure when kids come back to school this fall, that they have a safe place to walk to school," said Councilman Mark Walczyk.
Down the road, officials will talk about adding a traffic light at Barben Avenue and consolidating some of the driveways at businesses in the area.
"Anything we can do to minimize their danger, it's the best thing we can do," said Fralick.
There's an opportunity that the state could pay for some of the project through Governor Cuomo's $110 million pedestrian safety initiative but Mayor Butler says, either way, The project will get done.