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Waukee to install specialized signals near middle school

With spring in the air and summer just around the corner, many people will be out on local bike trails and city sidewalks. So to help improve safety for pedestrians, the City of Waukee recently received a grant to install specialized crosswalk signals at both Park Road/Ashworth Drive and SE L.A. Grant near the middle school.

“The sidewalk and bike trail along Wildflower Dr. will be installed this summer as part of a development project,” says John Gibson, Director of Public Works, “and the City will install the LA Grant crosswalk and pedestrian light before school starts in the fall.”

This is good news to parents like Steve and Donna Dressel whose daughter, Kate, was involved in the accident outside of South Middle School further up SE L.A. Grant earlier this year. “I am happy to see plans progressing for the new crosswalk,” says Donna Dressel, Kate’s mother. “However, parents should know there are no policies in place for preventing a similar accident at future new schools in Waukee. The city and school have shown deep concern about Kate’s accident, which was on August 23, and many people have reached out to us with support and concern, which we truly appreciate.

“I just don’t want to see this happen to another child because this has been incredibly painful and life-changing for our entire family.”

Donna explains that although Kate has improved tremendously, she is still not back to school full-time and still suffers headaches and back pains, which are at times debilitating and wake her at night, almost daily. She goes on to say that she has since left her job to care for Kate and manager her therapies and doctor appointments and transport her to and from school multiple times each day.

While the accident and its repercussions have been difficult on the Dressels, Donna explains that “we are so grateful her injuries were not worse and that her life was spared.”

“We have identified several crosswalks that warrant signals and have applied this year for cross walk signals at Park Road and Ashworth Drive to be installed in the spring,” Gibson adds. “We will apply July 1 for next year’s grant for installation at SE L.A. Grant and Wildflower and the following year will be the Middle School/Library crossing on Warrior Lane.”

While these steps will aid in the safety of students and other citizens, Donna still hopes more will be done.

“When Kate has fully recovered, I intend to revisit this issue with the school, city, and state government if needed. I believe safe crossings should be in place before any school opens.”

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