At City Meeting, Parents Express Concern for Commuting Kids

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

School road safety and gun restrictions were both issues that came up at last night’s Kodiak City Council regular meeting.

The council held its second reading and public hearing of an ordinance that would restrict the discharge of firearms within city limits. It comes from a concern for pedestrians in areas where some hunters kill deer, such as Near Island, and it would limit certain projectile weapons while permitting the use of firearms and other weapons in defense of life and property.

A couple of people gave give comment during the public hearing, including city resident Joseph Mallor.

“I shoot my bow in my backyard without incident, without complaint. That right will be taken away from me with this ordinance. I believe there’s other people in the city that also do things on their property that would fall under this ordinance that would make them susceptible to the fine.”

City Manager Aimée Kniaziowski said there was at least one resident who filed an objection, and encouraged the council to postpone the ordinance if so desired, which it decided to do.

Last night’s meeting also served as a reminder that winter is approaching, and the days are getting shorter. That means some kids are walking to school in the dark, and members of the public came to voice concern about their children’s safety.

Chris Hatch said his son walks to Main Elementary School very morning, and not only is Powell Avenue dark, but traffic can also be dangerous.

“There’s a lot of illegal u-turning and there’s kids everywhere. The last since we’ve been here, this entire time, I have watched kids dodging out of the way of the crosswalks, the printed crosswalks, jumping out of the way to prevent from being hit by cars…”

…Which, he said, speed.

Ceilidh Prater said her son also attends Main Elementary and parents make poor driving choices in the area.

“They’re making u-turns as they’re coming out from dropping off their children rather than following the road, and it is very dark in the morning. There is one street light at the crosswalk at the three-way stop and then on the side where the baseball field is. There’s not another street-light until the end past where the busses drop off for the middle school.”

Councilman Rich Walker responded during council comments.

“The school district has approved flood lighting and extra lighting for that area. We’re dealing with our contractor, trying to get him over there to get going on it and we’re also working with the borough and the DOT to look at maybe new traffic patterns in that area, and there’s also another special committee that’s been working on this for over a year, so we are working on it.”

Councilman John Whiddon said he’s also seen drivers breaking the law in the area surrounding the school. He said there’s an ongoing petition for a four-way stop sign to be installed on the corner of Baranof Street and Armstrong Avenue.

The council’s next meeting is a joint work session with the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly, and it’s scheduled for Wednesday starting at 7:30 p.m. in the library.

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