Karshner Elementary Walk to School
Karshner Elementary students are all about walking to school
Posted on 10/16/2019
Karshner Elementary students are all about walking to school

It was a beautiful sunny morning on October 9 as many Karshner Elementary students, parents, and staff gathered at Sam Peach Park in Puyallup for Walk to School Day.

Students were welcomed by Puyallup School District Superintendent Tim Yeomans and Director of Facilities Planning Brian Devereux, Puyallup Interim City Manager Steve Kirkelie, and City Councilman Jim Kastama.

They were celebrating pedestrian safety and the installation of new Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) at the existing crosswalk across 15th St NW (at 8th Ave NW), located near the northwest corner of Karshner Elementary. 

“Today is a celebration about walking to school. Everyone is here because we care about students at Karshner Elementary,” said Devereux.

Next, students, parents, and staff began the walk to Karshner Elementary. Puyallup School Resource Officers, Sergeant Kelly Hanson and Patrol Officer Dan Drasher were on-hand to ensure student safety by providing a police escort as they walked to school and crossed the streets.
Karshner Elementary

When they approached the crosswalk with the new beacons, Principal LaShawnda Baldwin made sure each student learned to push the button to activate the flashing beacons before entering the crosswalk. Vehicle traffic stopped and waited patiently as walkers proceeded to cross.

When the button is pushed the system provides an audible message in English and Spanish when the beacon is activated.

There will also be two school patrol at the crosswalk before and after school.

In 2019 the City of Puyallup, in partnership with the Puyallup School District, developed a city-wide Safe Routes to Schools Master Plan. As part of this process, work began in 2018, and a walk audit was held at Karshner Elementary in late fall 2018. The walk audit identified several improvements needed to improve pedestrian safety.

The safety concerns addressed were limited visibility of student pedestrians and crossing guard staff when approaching and entering a crosswalk as well as vehicular speeds over the posted maximum speed limit in school zone areas.

The flashing beacons were installed at Karshner by the City of Puyallup as the result of a grant project the district applied for and received from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. The project also includes two curb ramp ADA upgrades and two Speed Indicator signs (for northbound and southbound traffic) installed within the school speed zone along 11th St NW, one block east of Karshner Elementary.

Devereux said the community has seen the positive impact RRFBs have in supporting safe routes to schools at other school locations within the City of Puyallup.

In 2012, the City of Puyallup and the Puyallup School District successfully applied for Safe Routes to Schools grant funds to install RRFBs at existing crosswalks in school zones adjacent to three school locations (Stewart Elementary, Meeker Elementary and Aylen Junior High).