Summer Work to Make the Boren School Building Safer this Fall

It may be summer but SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program doesn’t take a break! On July 8, SDOT hosted a meeting to discuss school traffic safety at the Boren School building in the Delridge neighborhood. The goal of the meeting was to develop a traffic circulation plan to be used by two school programs that will share the building this September – K-5 STEM and Arbor Heights, which is using the building as an interim site while a new Arbor Heights School is being built.

Louisa Boren Junior High School opened in September 1963, serving West Seattle families until 1981 when the school was closed due to the shrinking school population. The building has recently reopened to serve elementary students and there are some challenges using an old middle school to serve a younger population. For one, the school is located on Delridge Way SW, a principal arterial with nearly 20,000 vehicles per day passing by.

The new flashing school beacon installed by SDOT this year near the Boren School.

A flashing school beacon installed by SDOT this year near the Boren School building.

To improve safety, earlier this year SDOT installed 20 m.p.h. flashing lights to emphasize slow driving while kids are arriving and departing. Still, traffic concerns persisted so SDOT brought together representatives of Seattle Public Schools, the school principals, parents and Feet First to adopt a traffic plan to be used by both schools and communicated to families before the first day of school this September.

The group agreed on a plan that will reduce the number of kids crossing busy Delridge Way SW, share the school parking lot between the two schools, provide more space for short-term parking near the school, and encourage park-and-walk at afternoon dismissal. Parents and school communities also expressed strong desires for more crosswalks, enforcement of the school speed zone, and additional traffic calming measures on the streets around the school.

SDOT will continue to work with the schools to communicate the new traffic plan to parents, evaluate how the plan is working, and make adjustments if needed. If you have concerns about school traffic safety in your neighborhood, we would like to work with you to make it safer. Contact SDOT’s Safe Routes to School coordinator, Brian Dougherty at brian.dougherty@seattle.gov or call 206-684-5124.