FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2021
(Douglas County, Ore.) The Douglas County Board of Commissioners held a ribbon cutting ceremony earlier today to celebrate the completion of our second Safe Routes to School Improvement Project in Douglas County. The ceremony was held on Carnes Road near Green Elementary School and included key partners involved in the grant application process and the design and construction of the improved safety corridor. Green Elementary School Principal, Lisa Dickover and students, Quinn Gibson (5th Grade), Miles David (2nd Grade) and Conner Ryan (4th Grade) were given the honor of cutting the ribbon with Commissioner Tom Kress to officially commemorate the newly improved road.
“The construction was worth the wait. The dramatic difference these improvements have made in such a high traffic corridor is just remarkable. Making school zones and access to schools safer for everyone in neighboring communities is a high priority for myself and my fellow Commissioners. In addition to our partners that collaborated on the grant and our project contractors, we would also like to thank our local residents for their cooperation, patience and understanding during construction,” stated Commissioner Tom Kress. “I’m thrilled we qualified for the grant. These grants are extremely competitive. We are consistently selected for top level funding. In fact, I am pleased to announce that Douglas County has been awarded another Safe Routes to Schools grant. Douglas County Public Works has started initial work for a 2022 safety corridor improvement project in Canyonville.”
The section of Carnes Road between Highway 42 and Happy Valley Road was identified as high priority for safety improvements in Douglas County’s 2016-2021 Transportation Improvement Plan. Carnes Road is the only access road to Green Elementary for school buses and vehicles. High traffic volumes, speeds, undefined intersection crossings, and continuous driveway access, exacerbated by a lack of facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians have long been safety concerns for students walking and biking to and from school. The improvements included constructing continuous sidewalks and buffered bike lanes on both sides of the roadway, a complete upgrade of the storm sewer system, and new pavement. The project increased visibility at school crossings at Del Mar Drive and Linnell Avenue intersections with enhancements to striping and school warning signs to better alert motorists driving through the school zone. A Rapid Flashing Pedestrian Beacon with safety island was also installed near Green Elementary. Our first Safe Routes to School Improvement Project took place in 2019/2020 near Winchester Elementary in Hwy 99 South in Winchester.
The total cost of the project was $4.2 million. Douglas County was awarded a $2 million grant from the Safe Routes to School Initiative in March 2020. Both Green Sanitary and Roberts Creek Water Districts contributed $200k for each of their portion of the project and the remainder was funded with Douglas County Road Funds. Key Partners for this project included Douglas County Public Works Department, David Evans & Associates, IE Engineering and Knife River Materials.
Douglas County Public Works Department worked hand-in-hand with Blue Zones Project, Green Elementary School, Roseburg Public Schools to put together the grant application. Safe Routes to School is a national program to increase physical activity, improve health and reduce traffic congestion around schools by making it safer and easier for students to walk and bicycle to school. Safe Routes to School has a 12-year history of projects and programs in Oregon. These range from education and encouragement, to fixing the built environment in school neighborhoods.
“I would like to thank the Douglas County Commissioners and the Douglas County Public Works Department and all our partners for seeing this project to fruition. The initiative is already paying off, parents and students feel much safer in our school zone. The improvements have increased the visibility of our school zone with flashing lights and larger sidewalks,” commented Lisa Dickover, Principal of Green Elementary. “Families can now walk or bike to school in a much safer way, and families that have not been able to walk or bike in the past, now have the option to do that. It has been so wonderful to see entire families biking together to school using the new bike lanes.”