In a move to address transportation challenges faced by families around Lumberg and Edgewater Elementary Schools, the City of Edgewater has initiated a community-based transportation planning program.
The Edgewater School Transportation Plan is currently in the public input phase, with the project’s website acting as a hub for information and engagement. Organizers hope to accommodate as many demographics as possible, including those facing language barriers or who have limited access to digital communication. Input channels include public events, interactive maps on the project’s website, and an online forum where residents can share their perspectives.
“We just wrapped up the recommendations phase and now we’re looking for community input to give us some feedback on those recommendations,” Kirgis said. “Then we’ll finalize the recommendations and wrap up the plan probably in late spring.”
While specific improvements have yet to be confirmed, one notable recommendation involves turning 22nd Avenue in front of Lumberg Elementary into a one-way street.
Construction for the Edgewater School Transportation Plan is expected to begin in summer of 2024, improving roads, paths, and crosswalks at the schools. As the plan progresses, community involvement will be essential in shaping how it affects Edgewater’s schools and the broader local community.
The Edgewater School Transportation Plan, one of Denver Regional Council of Governments’ initial efforts to increase transportation access for historically underserved populations, focuses on creating safe, efficient transportation options in the Edgewater school district.
“That’s the common theme for our community transportation plan projects – addressing mobility challenges for marginalized populations,” said Lauren Kirgis, assistant multimodal transportation planner at DRCOG.
The plan’s main focus is the safety of students during school pick-up and drop-off times. Traffic congestion and insufficient signage pose the greatest risks, and the plan aims to enhance road safety and streamline traffic flow.
Edgewater Collective is one of the key organizations involved in the project, alongside the City of Edgewater, Jeffco Schools, and DRCOG. These groups organize regular project management meetings and quarterly steering committee sessions with community members, school officials, and representatives from public safety and health departments.
Plans for this program have taken into account a variety of conditions, including school enrollment, traffic patterns, safety statistics and crash data.
Lindsay Petty, Principal of Lumberg Elementary, emphasized the need for improved crosswalks, signage, and direction of traffic to ensure student safety. Traffic congestion around schools, compounded by the influx of students from recently closed schools like Molholm Elementary, presents challenges for local families.
“Every morning at arrival and at dismissal, I’ve got 500 kids that I’m dismissing just for Lumberg alone, and when a lot of kids are walking and driving with their families to school, we have a lot of transportation pieces, and it’s just not safe,” Petty said. She also expressed concern about Lumberg’s proximity to Jefferson High School, which compounds traffic backups during pick-up and drop-off times.
Kit Lammers, community services director for the City of Edgewater, echoed the need for improved transportation infrastructure around these schools.
“Aging infrastructure around Lumberg and Edgewater Elementary schools has failed to meet the transportation needs of the community,” Lammers said.
Edgewater families can make an immediate impact on transportation issues by taking advantage of existing resources like the “School Pool” program, which connects families and encourages them to carpool to school together.
“So many people drive to both Lumbergh and Edgewater,” Kirgis says. “Trying to get people to drive together helps reduce congestion, but it also helps community members out because there are families who don’t have cars, or who have disabilities. ”
Ultimately, whether the school community feels safe near the schools is the most important thing, said Joel Newton, executive director of the Edgewater Collective.
“Do parents feel like it’s safe for their kids to walk to school to Lumberg Elementary and Edgewater Elementary?” Newton said. “Is it safe for people walking, biking, or driving to school? What are the ways that we can really encourage students and families to drive less and walk or roll to school more?”
For more information and to provide feedback, visit https://engage.drcog.org/edgewater_schools.