The Davis City Council and Davis Joint Unified School District Board of Education met last week to discuss shared problems and goals for the future.
Members discussed goals for 2008 and 2009, one of them being to find safer means of getting to school for students living on Olive Drive.
Olive Drive is separated from downtown and most of the city by the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. There is currently no safe and direct route for the citizens living here to get to school.
Even though it is illegal, pedestrians will cross the tracks as a means of getting into town more quickly, which has raised safety concerns especially in regard to children crossing the tracks unsupervised. Forty-nine students are living at the end of Olive Court apartments and mobile homes at the east end of Olive Drive.
One study counted 98 dangerous crossings of these tracks by school-age children during a three-day period in May 2008. A total of 387 such crossings by all age groups were further tallied in the same time period.
Board member Sheila Allen said the district does its fair share making sure kids have safe access to school, but there could still be means of improving certain areas in terms of safety.
“I do believe there’s a need for a safer more accessible railroad crossing in the Olive Drive area, but I also understand that is not going to be easy,” Allen said. “It will be expensive, but I believe our staff should put as much effort as they can into finding a solution for this.“
Some at the meeting suggested studying potential changes to the Unitrans S Line, which board member Susan Lovenburg said is not well-utilized among students who live in the Olive Drive area.
The district decided to have Operation Lifesaver make a safety presentation in the East Olive Drive neighborhood. They then further resolved to have the city and the district work in cooperation with railroad authorities to employ a solution.
Other goals discussed at the meeting include working together on green initiatives, as well as vandalism and truancy prevention.
Board members will take constructive action toward reaching these goals by developing a school resource officer position and by strengthening partnership among the police department.
Other highlights included updates on the community gym lighting and on-campus crimes. Discussion of substance abuse was prevalent throughout the meeting.
The meeting proceeded with the city-school district Partnership Award, given to Dorothy Peterson, who started her teaching career with Davis Joint Unified in August 1961. Since her retirement in 1999, Peterson has devoted herself to establishing recycling and garden-based programs.
“I thought I was only here to answer questions,” said Peterson, who was very excited about her reward.
Board of Education President Gina Daleiden praised Peterson before the board members. Daleiden said that Peterson was like the pied piper, and the kids in her class followed her every move.
“In regards to this, I’m so glad she’s been involved in programs with our kids even after she’s retired,” Daleiden said. “Not only have her recycling programs at Davis elementary schools reduced waste by about 50 percent, but her program has become a model statewide.“
In addition, board members discussed the stadium project at Davis High School, and a real estate update. The meeting concluded with announcements made by the board council members and staff.
ELENI STEPHANIDES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.