Crosswalk makes farmers cross

With the gymnasium located across the street from the new Coupeville High School, officials concerned about student safety on South Main Street built an island in the middle of the street to make the crossing safer.

However, the island has made it difficult for large farm machinery to maneuver on South Main Street to the fields surrounding the town.

Neighboring farmers are concerned that some of their widest equipment would damage any landscaping and signs that may be placed on the island, according to a letter to the school district sent from Engle Family Farms, Sherhill Vista Farms, Prairie View Farms and Central Whidbey Farms.

The island is located south of the intersection with South Main Street and Terry Road. It provides direct access to the gym and is located where students would naturally cross the street regardless of the crosswalk.

The island was built as part of the new high school and auxiliary gym construction projects that were completed in time for the 2007-2008 school year.

Mayor Nancy Conard said the road widths around the island meet legal requirements, however, farm equipment wasn’t thought about when designing the crossing area.

She said that people likely wouldn’t notice what kind of impacts such an island would have until they see it in place.

To help resolve the farm machinery issue, the town is having its traffic engineer study the situation and propose a remedy.

“It’s possible we can work out a solution to this,” Conard said.

As for costs for whatever solution is found, neither Conard or school district Superintendent Patty Page could say who would be responsible for paying.

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