AUSTIN, Texas — Look to the side when you’re driving down Treadwell Boulevard and you’ll see Gullett Elementary School.
At first, signs along that street make it clear that people are driving past a school.
But drive a little further – still right in front of the school – and those signs change.
“There are dozens of people that are crossing in both directions every day as people are dropping off, picking up, making U-turns,” said Robert Schmidt, a Gullett Elementary School parent. “And it’s a safety hazard, and I worry about the kids.”
Schmidt has three kids who go to Gullett Elementary.
The crosswalk he lives next to, which is right at the border of the school’s property, didn't exist for the last five months.
That’s until three days ago when the KVUE Defenders asked questions and the City of Austin sent someone to fix it.
But parents told me there’s another safety concern around the school.
It goes back to one sign, something we see on almost every street the school sits on.
“Where it says 'end school zone' is a natural entry point to the school at drop off and pick-up,” Schmidt said. “And so it makes no sense to me at all and the simple solution is a crosswalk.”
The school’s property is a square of land surrounded by four streets.
Signs marking the end of a school zone are posted on three of those streets where the school’s property exists. The other street has no school zone signs.
And one of the four intersections at the school does not even have a crosswalk.
“I feel like my children are safe because I live really close to a crosswalk,” Schmidt said. “But I watch a lot of other kids that are in jeopardy, and it concerns me.”
A City representative sent an email saying the school zone exceeds minimum requirements.
“Longer school zones are associated with greater variations in speed and lead to higher traveling speeds,” Mary Vo, a City Transportation representative, said in the email. “The existing dimensions are set to protect pedestrians entering the street at the designated crossing.”
But Schmidt said he wants the City to look past the minimum requirements for school zones to make students safer.
“Some common-sense logic and some minimal resources could change signage, add crosswalks, do things that don’t require a lot of capital expenditure that could create a great deal of safety for students today,” Schmidt said.
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