Parents voice concern about closed school zone - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/14/09

Parents voice concern about closed school zone

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By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Some parents in the Tech Terrace Neighborhood will address concerns about a school zone crossing with the Citizens Traffic Commission Tuesday morning. Council approved the closure of crossings at 73rd and Slide, 4th and Toledo, and 26th and Flint in late July.

It's the crossing on Flint that has some parents concerned.  The city has covered the signs and flashers at the school crossing with plastic, so drivers don't have to slow down to 20 mph when driving through the area.  The crossing is a block away from Roscoe Wilson elementary, NewsChannel 11 found out why it's closed.

"The count was low," Lubbock Independent School District Police Chief Tom Nichols said.  He tells NewsChannel 11 the decision to close the crossings is ultimately in the hands of the city. Crews monitor pedestrian traffic regularly to make sure school crossing meet the minimum number of students. The city says that's an average of ten students crossing during six different time periods.

"That's not to say every child isn't important, because every child is important, but how do you decide to put a traffic light and guard, I mean you can't put them everywhere, so at some point the decision has to be made, and even though that's a city of Lubbock decision, we're certainly supportive of it based upon the traffic standards," Nichols said. 

He says the closed crossings didn't meet the standards two years ago, but the city agreed to release crossing guards, but keep the lights and monitor for another year. Still, the city says the count doesn't necessitate a school crossing zone.

"The argument, as I've heard it from some parents is, yes we're using it throughout the day, and maybe you're not counting all of those aspects," Lubbock City Councilman Todd Klein said.  Some parents called Klein to protest the closure.

Elaine Wilson is one of those concerned.  "My big concern is that even if it's just three children, which my happen to be my three children, walking to school that the school zone is still warranted," Wilson said. 

She says the high traffic volume on Flint is reason enough to keep the crossing. The city is doing another count to see if more people are using the crosswalk, and the Citizens Traffic Commission is set to discuss the issue on Tuesday. "My hope is that the city traffic engineer recommends the reinstatement of this school zone regardless of the number of children that are crossing," Wilson said. 

Councilman Klein did vote for in favor of the closure, but he says the city is working to improve traffic flow in the area. He says part of that includes a new project to more clearly mark the roadway for bicycle traffic.

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