We have been made aware of information circulating through various media that was sent out by the administration of Providence Hall charter schools regarding Safe Walk Routes. Below are a few points of clarification:
- The purpose of a Safe Walk Route is to facilitate the safest possible pedestrian route from HOME to SCHOOL. Safe Walk Routes are NOT designed for school-to-school drop-off points or to facilitate what is most convenient.
- Safe Walk Routes are intended and designed for elementary school-aged children. It is assumed that children of middle school and high school age are responsible enough to cross the road and navigate traffic safely. We do not provide adult Crossing Guards for any other middle school or high school in the city.
- The placement of a school crossing for a Safe Walk Route is regulated by the Utah Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) which is published by UDOT and dictates where school crossings are allowed and where they are not. Certain benchmarks MUST be met in order for a school crosswalk to be placed. If a school crosswalk is NOT warranted under the MUTCD, we cannot place an adult Crossing Guard at that location. A school crosswalk between Providence Hall High School and Providence Hall Junior High is NOT currently warranted under the MUTCD and thus we would not be in compliance if it were to remain in place.
- The crosswalk between Providence Hall High School and Providence Hall Junior High was actually created by the school without consultation with Herriman City several years ago. The City took over the crossing upon learning about it due to concerns for safety, consistency, training, and legal authority to regulate traffic (which a school does not have).
- Ever since the crossing was created by the school, the City has been actively looking for ways to resolve the traffic and safety issues at that location. Nowhere else in the city would a crossing be warranted in such close proximity to Mountain View Corridor and the drop-off areas for the two schools, and with a safer alternative located nearby. The intersection of Patriot Ridge Drive and Highfield Drive was studied and warranted a four-way stop recently, which provided an opportunity to move the school crossing to a much safer location. Prior to the installation of the four-way stop at Highfield, it didn’t make much sense from a safety perspective to move the crossing from one uncontrolled, mid-block crossing to another further up the road. From a traffic engineering perspective, an intersection controlled by a traffic control device is ALWAYS safer than an uncontrolled, mid-block crossing (even with a reduced speed zone). Again, keep in mind that the SAFEST route is not always the most convenient.
- The pedestrian crosswalk between Providence Hall Junior High School and High Schools still exists and may be used at your own risk. For clarification, it was NOT a police officer who told students they were no longer allowed to use the crosswalk. It is simply not the designated Safe Walking Route and not a designated school crosswalk staffed by an adult Crossing Guard. HPD will continue to provide enforcement in the area as necessary to educate and encourage drivers to yield to pedestrians in ANY marked pedestrian crosswalk. It is our recommendation that all students crossing back and forth from the Junior High to the High School walk to Highfield Drive and use the designated school crosswalk; however, it is not mandatory to do so.
- Getting your child safely to school in the State of Utah is the parents’ responsibility and not that of the school, school district, city, or police department. A city and school are required under statute and the MUTCD to designate the safest possible walking route and then determine whether a school crosswalk along that route warrants an adult Crossing Guard under the MUTCD to regulate traffic while children are crossing.
- There were no fiscal adjustments made to the budget for HPD and City support specific to the Providence Hall Safe Walk Route. The decision to move the Safe Walk Route to the four-way stop was not a budgetary one, but rather an effort to maintain compliance with the MUTCD requirements and maintain the intent and purpose of the designated Safe Walk Route for elementary school children.
Safe Walk Routes are reviewed in cooperation with each school annually, and we make every effort to mitigate safety issues under the guidelines of the MUTCD. We encourage our residents to reach out to us to discuss these and any other concerns.