Parents pushing for school zone signs

Parents plead for school zone signs

AUSTIN - For months, parents of Austin Discovery School students have been asking for a school zone at the main intersection leading into campus.

And now, they might be getting some help with what they call the 'dangerous and accident-prone' intersection off of FM 969 and Decker Lane.

"I'd like to see a school zone put into place," Tony Buonodono said.

His two daughters attend Austin Discovery School and said in the past year this intersection has been the scene of two major accidents. The last happening just last week.

"Our theater teacher John Watson was coming out of the intersection at about 3:50 p.m.," Austin Discovery School's Chief Operating Officer Sheri Guess said. 

Guess said a bus was turning right into campus when Watson decided to take a right turn out of the campus.

"Unfortunately there was a truck behind the bus," Guess said.

School officials believe the truck driver was moving between the left and right lanes.

"When he veered back to the right lane is when he hit our teacher head on causing very critical injuries," Guess said.

The posted speed limit at the intersection is 50 miles per hour.

As an engineer who plans infrastructure projects for a living, Buonodono says this is too fast for peak travel times before and after school, especially with a neighborhood right across the street.

School officials estimate about 10 percent of their students live here and say many of them walk to class.

"During school hours with the amount of traffic entering and exiting during those specific windows of time that seems too quick," Buonodono said.

He decided to reach out to TxDOT and told TxDOT's Director of Transportation Operations, Imelda Barrett, about his concerns.

"Spoke to her this morning and had feedback by this afternoon that they were going to move forward and have a school zone installed there," Buonodono said.

In the email, Barrett said "In order to improve safety for this roadway, we are going to move forward with the recommendation of a school zone. We have to first develop a recommended speed zone map for this school zone and get approval from the TxDOT Traffic Engineering Division. We hope to get approval before the Christmas holiday. From there it will have to go to the City of Austin to have City Council approve an ordinance. Thank you for bringing this to our attention."

"It's not a quick process but it's at least started at this point," Buonodono said.

TxDOT 's public information officer could not confirm to KVUE that TxDOT is indeed looking to put a school zone in this area.

Instead, Kelli Reyna sent KVUE the following written statement:
"It’s unfortunate any time there’s a traffic crash on our road system and we take that very seriously here at TxDOT. We have completed multiple studies on FM 969 regarding both traffic studies and school zone requests. We will continue to evaluate the situation and will do everything practically supported by policy to optimize safety on this roadway."

 

 

(© 2016 KVUE)


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