Making school zones safer after 2 students hit by vehicles

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 10:21 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - After two Lubbock students were struck by vehicles while walking home from school, KCBD set out to learn how the city could make school zones safer.

Since we began looking into this subject, the timing for flashing school zone lights has been changed near the campus where one student was struck by a car.

The city says to get flashing school zone lights in an area, change when the lights flash or to get a crossing guard, first reach out to your school principal.

The principal will then notify the district police chief. From there, the police chief sends a request to the city.

Director of Traffic Management Sharmon Owens said once the city is notified, they begin a study on students crossing in the area.

“We don’t look at vehicular traffic, what we’re looking for is children crossing the street, and that is with or without a parent. So the criteria right now is an average of 10 children crossing the street with or without a parent or an adult with them. And we look at six different crossing times,” Owens said.

The results of the study are then brought to the Citizens Traffic Commission that makes recommendations to city council.

Council members ultimately decide whether to amend a city ordinance.

“There is a particular ordinance that designates school zones on city streets for schools. That takes two readings of the ordinance. That’s a month process. Before that, it takes at least two weeks to get all the information together and install that. So that’s a six weeks process,” Owens said.

It then takes additional time to physically install a new school zone sign or flashing lights.

The process is the same for a crossing guard, but once the request is approved, Lubbock police will hire the guard, typically only on busier streets or thoroughfares like 34th Street, or Martin Luther King Boulevard.

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