An effort to look at how to get cars moving on Killington Avenue has led to a project aimed at slowing them down. Starting next week, Christ the King School will begin a two-week "pop-up" experiment with curb bump-outs. The crosswalks will be restriped and curb extensions will be placed at key points, including the crosswalk from the parking lot to the school's entrance, using paint and plastic posts. This is aimed at narrowing the street and slowing traffic. The parking lot will be reconfigured into two lanes, one for car drop-offs and another for "park and walk." The changes will be in effect from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, during which time students will help collect traffic data at the site to judge how well the changes are working. A presentation on the project will be offered at CKS's parent information night, at 6 p.m. Aug. 30. The school is working with Local Motion, a Burlington-based nonprofit working to make areas more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. Allegra Williams, the group's community technical assistance manager, said this was their first time doing a school pop-up. "We've mostly worked within Chittenden County," she said. "We're working right now in South Burlington on a small pop-up." Williams said the pop-up approach makes it easy for communities to test different road configurations and decide if they want to invest in infrastructure changes that would make them permanent. Laura McLachlan, a CKS parent, said she works for the Vermont Energy Education Program. Among other things, they work to convince people to let their cars idle less, she said. What she saw while dropping her daughter off at school grabbed her attention. "I had observed this horrible traffic line, and I said, Oh, my gosh, this is an idling project," she said. Toward that end, McLachlan started working with last year's sixth-grade class. "They went out early in the morning, counted cars and wrote down things they saw happening," she said. The next step was for the students to generate suggestions based on their observations. What they came away with was as much about cars that were moving as ones that weren't. The students sold the school on the crossing safety project. They had to sell it to the Board of Highways, which makes decisions regarding city streets. The board easily endorsed the project. "It was unanimous," said Public Works Commissioner Jeffrey Wennberg, who serves on the board with the mayor and president of the Board of Aldermen. "We thought the kids had done a fantastic job of tackling this thing." Wennberg said the stretch of Killington Avenue is not one of the city's major trouble spots, but they are aware of issues there. "School officials have, from time to time, called and expressed concern for the safety of kids crossing the street and what could be done to improve it," he said. McLachlan said she was not aware of any crashes at the intersection, but said there have been plenty of near-misses. "When students cross Killington Avenue, even though we have a crossing guard, cars will try to drive around the car that's stopped at the crossing," she said. "The people aren't being respectful. Killington Avenue has become something of a thoroughfare between Route 7 and Stratton Road, so there is more traffic." In sync with the pop-up effort, McLachlan said they will work with the Rutland Regional Planning Commission to study traffic volumes and speed on Killington Avenue.

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