Here's a suggestion to improve walk-to-school safety for Charles Elementary School in Richmond, Indiana. I sent this to the Richmond City Planner in 2013. Although it was well-received, Google Maps shows the intersection remains with all the same problems. I've since moved to a new town but found this during an email inbox deep cleaning. I'm sharing it here in case anyone in Richmond finds it useful.
Reeveston Road and 24th Street
The intersection we're looking at here is Reeveston Road and 24th street.
Charles Elementary School is just out of the frame in the upper right. This is the corner of the school's lot.
From the birds-eye view of Google Maps, you can see a strange thing happen. Just a block away in Reeveston, there are nice, wide sidewalks on both sides of the road, offset from the road by several feet, with standard crossing distances at intersections. As you get close to school– where none of the students are of legal driving age– everything gets worse. The sidewalks disappear from one side of the road, the sidewalk get narrower, and they are pushed right up to the edge of the road, where it's less comfortable and less safe to walk. Some crossing distances nearly double.
The planning to make pedestrian conditions worse around an elementary school baffles me. Let's fix some of the worst problems here. When approaching the school from the West on Reeveston Road, the crossing distances are incredibly long-- easily more than 50 feet to get across the street in either of the two crosswalks at the intersection. (One crosswalk appears to just drop you in someone's yard with no sidewalk on the opposing side!).
A solution is to narrow Southeast Parkway a bit near the intersection, forming something close to standard 4-way stop. This design update would both slow traffic some through there, and also cut the crossing distance in approximately half. I'm sure a version could still accommodate the necessary bus traffic.
I also sketched an improvement for the second north/south crosswalk in the same drawing. Since it's just depositing pedestrians on someone's lawn, it's baffling why a long diagonal is used there, instead of the shorter perpendicular option. I changed that, and also went ahead and sketched in proper sidewalks on that of the street, attempting to continue the nice sidewalk system that's present to the west on Reeveston Road.
I also find it incredible that there are no sidewalks connecting the direct route from Charles Elementary to Test Middle School, just about four blocks away from each other. Surely, there are families with kids at both schools who live within walking distance from both. There's another wasteland of excessive asphalt in the intersection of Southeast Parkway and South A street that is ripe for improvement.