Sidewalk and roadway improvements along California Street will make getting to school safer for middle school and elementary students. Improvements include installing crosswalk pop-outs and narrowing the roadway. Photo by Promise Yee
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O’side students have safer ways to school

OCEANSIDE — Lincoln Middle School and Palmquist Elementary students will have a safer walk to school this fall thanks to funds from Safe Routes to School. 

A grant will enable the city to build crosswalk pop-outs and narrow the roadway between the neighboring schools from 50 feet to 24 feet to slow down traffic.

Current concerns on California Street are the high speeds of traffic, right of way violations and improper turning. These concerns are anticipated to heighten next year when middle school and elementary students cross the street during school hours to utilize labs and classrooms on both campuses.

“It’s a major travel lane,” David DiPierro, city traffic engineer, said. “Improvements will slow down traffic and give students an opportunity to cross safely.”

The $63,320 Safe Routes to School Grant was awarded in 2008, but roadway and sidewalk construction was delayed due to modernization of both schools.

Palmquist Elementary students have been relocated to Ditmar Elementary this year during major remodeling, which is expected to be completed in fall.

“It was taken down to the studs and rebuilt,” Cheryl Gaston, bond construction program manager for Oceanside Unified School District, said. “It will be like new when they’re finished.”

Modernization of Lincoln Middle School buildings and relocation of school driveways was completed in 2009.

The five-year delay in improving California Street from Ridgeway Street to Hunsaker Street increased the estimated project costs to $120,000. TransNet funds will be used to cover the price difference.

The street and sidewalk safety upgrades will begin in July and are expected to be completed before Palmquist Elementary reopens in August.