The area around Ocean Beach Elementary School is about to get a little bit safer.
Work on the proposed crosswalk on Santa Monica Avenue just outside the school is expected to begin in the next few weeks, according to John Ly, a council representative and policy adviser for Councilmember Kevin Faulconer’s office.
In an e-mail, Ly said construction on a street light – a step necessary to stay within city code for crosswalks – would begin Dec. 23, the first official day of winter break for the school. He said he expects work on the street light to be completed by the time students return on Jan. 6, at which time work can begin on cutting curbs for the crosswalk.
The project, which has been delayed by funding but was promised by Faulconer’s office to be finished by the end of the fiscal year, should be well ahead of that schedule.
“It took us by surprise, so we’re pretty happy about that,” OB Elementary School principal Marco Drapeau said. “We look forward to getting this done. It will make life a lot nicer around here.”
The project is expected to cost around $30,000 — about $15,000 for the new street light, $5,000 for each curb cut and another $5,000 for the crosswalk itself. According to Ly, funding has been secured for the entire project. He said the timetable was contingent on the weather cooperating.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather conditions will keep this on track,” said OB Town Council president Gretchen Newsom. “It should be well before the end of the fiscal year.”
One question that remains is what will happen to the group of fathers who have taken it upon themselves to be volunteer crossing guards around the school and have gained a cult following from neighbors and fellow parents.
“We’re going to have to monitor that for need,” Drapeau said. “I still imagine there’s an adult body needed for those things. We might have a different-looking version of what we had. (The crosswalk) is not completely self-sufficient, so we’re still going to need some eyeballs on the area.”