Photo courtesy of Rehan Afzal

Update on Munroe Street traffic light

On Oct. 3, the Sacramento Country Day Tuesday newsletter shared an update on the proposal to install a traffic light at the intersection between Munroe Street and Latham Drive. Construction for the traffic light is projected to take place in the spring or summer of 2025.

The project to install the traffic light was officially launched on Dec. 13, 2022; however, according to both Head of High School Brooke Wells and English teacher Jane Bauman, it has been on the agenda for over 20 years.

However, Sacramento Country Day has been unable to install the traffic light in the past because it operates under a conditional use permit. That means the city gets to decide the limits of the expansion of the school. This gives the Sacramento City Council and the neighborhood surrounding the school the ability to decide the school’s size and limitations.

Country Day conducted a traffic study, which concluded that the school contributed around 20% of the traffic on Latham Drive. As a result, the city council decided that they would pay for 20% of the cost to install the traffic light. The school paid a sum of $150,000 to the city.

Bauman said that she often has to wait 10 to 15 minutes before she can cross the street.

“I know that I always have to be extremely careful when crossing the street,” Bauman said. 

Many high school student drivers, including senior Ike George, park on Munroe Street due to the fact that there is no student parking lot. 

George said that he often comes to school around 7:40 a.m., so not having a traffic light does not impact him. 

“I guess it would make sense though for people who come during busy times,” George said. 

Although Wells has not been included in the process to install the traffic light, it remains a priority for the high school staff.

“The cars are coming fast — sometimes they are speeding. They either don’t see the school crossing sign or choose not to see it,” Wells said.

When Bauman was crossing the street this school year, a car came rushing towards her. The car swerved around a stopped car, entered the bike lane and sped right next to Bauman.

“I was absolutely furious. The driver just had a total disregard for speed and safety,” Bauman said.

The school has also attempted to get a stop sign or a different type of pedestrian crossing sign, but without success. Because a traffic light will be put in place eventually, the city council has refused to build a stop sign or add flashing lights as temporary solutions. 

Taking a left turn from either direction off Munroe Street can be difficult and dangerous, Wells said.

“If you are waiting to take a left turn you are kind of taking your life into your hands and hoping that people will recognize that you are sitting there,” Thomsen said.

Head of School Lee Thomsen said that the school was then put on a list of traffic lights that the city would build, and Country Day was 44th. 

“I asked them how many traffic lights they get done a year, and they told me maybe four or five a year, so it would take them around 11 years to get to us,” Thomsen said.

However, the city council team is making progress and plans to present the proposal to the Active Transportation Commission within a few months, according to the Tuesday Newsletter.

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