For the past few months, Tarkio R-I has discussed ways of ensuring the safety of students who walk to school and walk home from school. The highways and Pine Street are very busy of a morning and afternoon and pose a danger for walkers. The school recently sent out a letter to all parents whose children are walkers:
“For the safety of our students, Tarkio R-I School District has made a slight change to the arrival and dismissal procedures for students who walk to and from school each day. The amount of traffic at the intersections of Highways 59 and 136, as well as on Pine Street during school arrival and dismissal, has given us cause for concern. These changes will take effect the first day of school Tuesday, August 20, 2019.
“Two additional bus stops have been created for students who walk to and from school. These stops are for students who live less than a mile from school and have to cross Highway 59 at the beginning and end of the day. For the morning, students who live on the North side of Highway 136 can board bus #1 (Gerry’s) at 10th and Chestnut (Subway). Students who live on the South side of Highway 136 can board bus #5 (Gary’s) at 6th and Walnut. Students must be at these bus stops by 7:20 a.m. We encourage parents to have their students take advantage of this opportunity. If students miss the bus or choose not to take the opportunity to use the bus to cross the highway, our crossing guards will still be available in the same spots as always to assist your walker safely across the highway. However, the crossing guards will NOT be responsible for making students take the bus.
“In the afternoon, student walkers who have to cross Highway 59 and live on the North side of Highway 136 will board bus #16 (Starla’s) and be taken to a stop at 10th and Chestnut (Subway) where they will be allowed to walk home. Student walkers who have to cross Highway 59 and live on the South side of Highway 136 will board bus #5 (Gary’s) and be taken to a stop at 6th and Walnut where they will be allowed to walk home. Riding the bus across the highway when school dismisses is not an option. All walkers will ride to their designated bus stop across Highway 59.
“Please note: this does NOT affect the other bus stops in town. They will remain the same. Again, these two stops have been created for students who live less than a mile from school and have to walk across one of the busy highways to get to and from school.
“Please remember we are doing this for the safety of these kids. If you have questions, contact your child’s principal or the superintendent’s office. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.”
Besides these safety provisions, the City of Tarkio has also painted a section of Pine Street between Hwy. 59 and the schools where students can have their own walkway on the road. Though there will still be traffic going both ways, the walkers will all be on one side of the roadway.