Meridian Boulevard puts school kids

There are so many puzzles attached to Meridian Boulevard that Mammoth’s town staff and planners hardly know where to start.

There is repaving, for example, and traffic calming.

But one problem is perfectly clear.

School kids using the four-lane street as a route to and from school have nowhere to go except for the street in winter. The snowbanks grow. The traffic gets heavy.

“From Old Mammoth Road to Azimuth we have a sidewalk, but it’s not wide enough to get snow removal equipment in there,” said Public Works Director Ray Jarvis.

Jarvis said his department would like to get snow removal equipment on that stretch of five-foot-wide sidewalk, which is on the north side of the street.

He said snow crews actually tried to clear a path along the sidewalk this past winter, but were stymied time and again – first by the depth of the snow and then by rock landscaping along the sidewalk.

To make the sidewalk wider, crews would have to move back a slew of rocks that are piled behind a rock sidewalk curb.

The town has the right of way, so it can be accomplished, but there is no funding on the books to do that.
Perhaps, said one of the town’s Mobility Commission members on Tuesday, that condo owners along that stretch of road might be willing to fund the re-landscaping.

“They’d fight it,” said John Vereuck, “and probably spend the same amount of money on attorneys.”
For the kids and their parents (not to mention residents using the street for shopping trips to Vons), that means the street is the only option.

In the dark winter months, that means obvious danger.

Also in the dark, over the years, has been the Town Council.

“We have requested funding several times,” Jarvis said, “and one year, the council approved funding and others haven’t for various reasons. There are budget constraints, we all know.

“But that is a main route for the school kids.”

On the south side of the street is an even narrower sidewalk, taking it out of the equation.

“It doesn’t really help much for the south side.” Jarvis said. “It’s narrower, it’s in the shade, and we’d have a serious infrastructure problem.

But on the north side, there’s a sliver of hope and a whole lot of desire.

“Kids north of Meridian could really benefit with that and stay off the road.

“And if the kids on south side cross over and use it, we’d probably want a crosswalk out there and maybe a crossing guard in the winter time.”