Getting There: Crosswalk to aid Higley elementary - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Getting There: Crosswalk to aid Higley elementary

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Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2008 9:40 pm | Updated: 8:56 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Why aren't the kids at Chaparral Elementary School crossing the road? Well, because there's no crosswalk and, until recently, the Higley Unified School District and Gilbert officials couldn't agree on when to put in a crosswalk on Higley Road, just south of Frye Road.

Gilbert officials had been holding off on a temporary crosswalk because the town had plans to widen Higley all the way to Pecos Road within a couple of years. The expansion would have meant a traffic signal and crosswalks for the intersection.

But now the entire project is uncertain after a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled last month Gilbert could not use eminent domain to take a homeowner's property inside a county island near the northwest corner of the intersection.

Once that happened, town officials said they would put in a temporary crosswalk so youngsters can walk to school. The district has been busing students who normally wouldn't receive bus service because they live near the school. But school officials said it was unsafe for the kids to cross busy Higley.

On the other hand, after reading the Tribune story last week about the scuffle on a Higley school bus, I'm not so sure the bus is really the safer bet.

But Gilbert has now decided to just go ahead and put in a full intersection at Higley and Frye roads.

"Best case scenario, we could have traffic signals in at that intersection by the end of May or early June," town spokesman Greg Svelund said.

Town officials don't know yet if they will install a temporary crosswalk in the meantime. That decision is expected sometime this week, Svelund said.

Closures & restrictions

Recker Road will be closed from Elliot Road to Warner Road on Tuesday and Wednesday as crews apply a final layer of asphalt to the road and make intersection improvements at Recker and Elliot.

Ocotillo Road from Val Vista Drive to Greenfield Road is closed until late March for an ongoing county road project.

And remember, Queen Creek Road will be closed from Arizona Avenue to McQueen Road while Chandler crews expand that road to six lanes. The closure is scheduled to last until Sept. 28.

ADOT will host air forum for women

Try to picture the last airline pilot who greeted you on a plane, mechanic who worked on an aircraft at the airport, or photo or video of a fighter pilot. Chances are in all three cases the mental image in your head is of a man.

There's no wonder why. Just 18 percent of those in aviation fields are women. And less than 6 percent of active pilots in the U.S. are women.

The small number of women who've taken to the sky are gathering in the Valley early next month to let girls know their careers aren't just for men.

Girls probably don't give much thought to aviation, said Rhonda Lyons, a pilot and Boeing manager who will be here to let girls know jobs are open to women.

"They may not see anyone doing it who looks like them so they might not think of ever doing it," Lyons said. "It's all about exposure."

Lyons is part of a program called Wings to Fly that the Arizona Department of Transportation will stage March 8 at the Challenger Space Center in Peoria.

She'll join Air Force Capt. Vernice Armour, the first African-American female combat pilot, and other aviation professionals.

Lyons is an experimental flight test operations manager in Seattle who said she got into her profession after getting lots of encouragement as a child by seeing women in aviation.

She recalled stepping on a Black Hawk helicopter while in high school and deciding she wanted to learn how aircraft work - and how to fly them.

She enlisted in the U.S. Army and was on active duty for five years.

The March event is the second one ADOT has held and will focus on girls and women ages 11 to 19. But other ages will be welcome, said Carole Glenn, outreach coordinator for ADOT's aeronautics division.

"Last year we had a 47-year-old woman who was attending the event because she was looking for a career change," Glenn said.

The event is free.

To register and to get more information, go to www.azdot.gov/aviation/wingstofly.

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