State funding has been secured to make some safety improvements along Northdale Blvd. in front of Coon Rapids High School. A grant from the Safe Routes to School program will provide about $458,000 to make several changes including relocating the main crosswalk to align with the new entrance and stadium.
"Traffic goes pretty steady here and sometimes just the system we have set up right now, sometimes people have gotten numb to it and so it doesn't stand out," said Coon Rapids High School principal John Peña.
One of the biggest components of the project will be to relocate the existing main crosswalk further to the east to better align with the high school's new main entrance and the stadium on the other side of Northdale Boulevard. Pedestrians will actually push a button to activate the crossing lights.
"Our goal is to improve pedestrian safety, make drivers more aware of the crosswalks that are present on Northdale Boulevard and make them more apparent, said city engineer Mark Hansen.
In addition to relocating the main crosswalk, the work will include making the crosswalk at Wren Street on the west side of the high school more visible to traffic, adding speed limit and speed display signs in the school zone, as well as some sidewalk improvements at the driveway exit of the school onto Northdale Boulevard.
"We're very excited that we were successful in this grant and looking forward to the opportunity to improve safety," Hansen said.
The project is planned for the summer of 2023.