Parents push for raised crosswalk, to curb speeders by elementary school

SEATTLE -- Parents in one Magnolia neighborhood are pushing the city for a special raised crosswalk. They say it’s necessary for their children to get to school safely.

Mark Lacas tries to walk his daughter to and from Blaine Elementary School every day, because he knows how dangerous it can be for her to cross 32nd Avenue West at West Raye Street alone. They say they’ve had several close calls with drivers.

“There was truck coming down the street and we were walking,” says Aleta Lacas, a fourth-grader. “We almost got run over. He missed up by a foot or two, and he was going like 50 mph.”

Mark bought an old speed gun, to see how fast drivers were going through the school zone.

“I set up a tripod and stood here, taking readings for three weeks,” he says. “People were coming through a 20 mph zone, going 40-45 mph.”

Mark and others have shared their concerns with the city of Seattle, but were told the street didn’t meet the criteria for a four-way stop.

“The city has a very strict, mathematical model that they want to apply,” says Pat Craft, who talked to a few traffic engineers.

So now parents are pushing for a raised crosswalk. They’ve applied to the city’s neighborhood park and street fund, and are using social media to spread the word through their community.

“We have support from Magnolia Community Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the Albertsons store director, and the school administration,” says Eric Souza.

They’re hoping the city will grant them the money to make changes, if they see how many people want to make this intersection safer.

“Something’s got to be done to stop the traffic flow, so people don’t drive through here with complete disregard,” says Lacas.

“I don’t think anyone wants a speed bump that they’re going to have to go over down 32nd Ave W,” adds Souza. “But something has to be done.”

Even if the city grants the money for the raised crosswalk, changes won’t go into effect until 2016.