CHICO – When students return to Marsh Junior High School in mid-August, they can expect additional security and ADA upgrades thanks to a partnership between the Chico Public Works Department and the Chico Unified School District.
These upgrades include a new set of traffic lights at the intersection of Humboldt Road, El Monte Avenue, and Notre Dame Boulevard; improved curbs and ramps that meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and a rapidly flashing beacon outside the entrance to the sports hall on Notre Dame Boulevard.
Chico Public Works’ project manager Wyatt West said Tuesday that the city is sharing the cost of the current projects with the school district. Other projects include the recent renovation of the bridge over Little Chico Creek and the completed development of a multi-purpose bike path connecting the school to Bruce Road, where some of the students live, West said.
West has had concerns about the intersection of Humboldt Road, El Monte Avenue, and Notre Dame Boulevard for several years.
“It’s been a security issue for a while. It was raised by a couple of students four or five years ago at a council meeting asking the city to see what can be done for this intersection until a traffic light is installed, ”West said. “Obviously it’s a very busy time during pickup and drop-off. It took a few years to put the plan together, but the plan is for the school signal to be operational by the start of the school year. “
To improve security along the new traffic stop, the rapidly flashing beacon near the gym entrance on Notre Dame Boulevard will trigger lights as soon as the button is pressed. Similar in function to a zebra crossing, lights like these are often used in school zones or areas with a speed limit below 40 mph due to being activated immediately.
The construction of the new curb ramps began on June 21st and after completion the redesigned curbs will meet the current ADA guidelines. Current California ADA guidelines indicate that a slope is required for every footpath. In addition, curb ramps must be equipped with wheel guides or side extensions to support pedestrians with poor visibility.
“In order to bring everything up to ADA standards, we had to install new ones (curb ramps). Standards change over time, ”West said. “To do this, the old curb ramps have to be broken out and new ones installed that meet the standard.”
Currently, the city has been working elsewhere to upgrade the pedestrian walkway to ADA standards. Park Avenue from East Ninth Street to East Park Avenue is the focus of the annual 2021 road rehabilitation project, which began in early June and is expected to be completed by mid-August 2021 according to current standards.