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Traffic outside Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary

Traffic is shown outside Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary in this Thursday afternoon photo. Racine police officers have requested to speak with the city's Traffic Commission about traffic issues near school campuses, including Jefferson Lighthouse.

RACINE — The Racine Police Department wants to work on solutions that could alleviate traffic congestion around schools.

Officials from the department requested to speak with the city’s Traffic Commission about past practices and protocols regarding traffic issues at Racine Unified School District campuses, as well as street signage. During its Monday meeting, the commission is scheduled to meet with representatives of the department and district to talk about the issue as a whole, as well as about problems identified at Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary School, 1722 W. Sixth St.

The discussion is expected to be introductory in nature, said Racine Deputy Police Chief William Macemon, the commander of the department’s school safety and security division. He said the department receives complaints from time to time about about traffic congestion near the schools, but no major issue is pressing.

“We’re just trying to develop a relationship with the Traffic Commission so, as we move forward, we can develop solutions to those,” Macemon said.

He said the requested conversation builds on a partnership formed between the school district and the Police Department in recent years. That partnership placed Community Oriented Policing officers in two local high schools, for example.

“We’re always looking for other stakeholders and partnerships that we can develop to make our schools safer,” Macemon said.

Jefferson Lighthouse

Police seek to improve traffic around Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary School, according to emails included with the Traffic Commission’s meeting materials.

Police were approached by the school’s principal, a December email by COP House Officer Tim Cisler states.

Cliff Avenue between Maple Street and West Sixth Street is not wide enough to accommodate a vehicle parked on each side of the road and two moving cars, the email states. A sign on the east side of Cliff Avenue prohibits parking during school hours, but parents disregard it so that kids do not have to cross the street to get into a car after school.

“The enforcement option does not seem to be successful,” Cisler’s email states. “Regardless of how many parents I tell about the proper flow of traffic, if even one vehicle stops/stands on the east side of Cliff during those hours, it throws a wrench into the flow of traffic. The parents will just stop/stand there whenever a squad is not present.”

A solution Cisler suggested was to prohibit parking on the west side of Cliff Avenue from Maple and West Sixth Street between 3:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Additional emails included with the meeting packet state some neighbors were responsive to Cisler’s proposal when he canvassed the area.

Reporting a complaint

Macemon said police ask parents to be aware of traffic congestion and parking restrictions around the schools to ensure safety. Should someone identify an issue, he recommended first bringing it to the attention of the school’s principal.

“We’re always looking for other stakeholders and partnerships that we can develop to make our schools safer.”

William Macemon, Racine deputy chief of police

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Reporter

Sari Lesk covers the City of Racine, Gateway and UW-Parkside. She is new to the community and moonlights as an amateur baker.

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