City Says St. Mary’s Doesn’t Have Enough Points to Get a School Zone

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Students and their parents know good grades help you get ahead, but parents at St. Mary's Catholic School think an Odessa point system is holding them back from keeping their kids safe.

The city says they don't have a high enough score to get a school zone.

After a little girl was hit by a car last month, parents at St. Mary's fought to get more stop signs near the school.

On Tuesday night, the City Council approved their request and now parents say they're happy with the decision but more can be done.

There's a new four way stop outside of St. Mary's Catholic School, but parents say that's not enough.

"I very strongly feel, we need a school zone," Krista Vanderburg said. "People are paying a lot more attention to those signs now more than ever. The stop sign is great and as Joe Salmon said last night, it's a first step."

But the City of Odessa says it doesn't make the cut.

"We look at traffic volumes, number of pedestrians, the width of the street, the speed limit. Those sorts of factors," Odessa Traffic Coordinator Hal Feldman, said. "In the ratings system, it kind of determines what level of traffic control devices are warranted for a particular area."

According to their point system, St. Mary's only needs the signs and cross walks in place.

"Parents are naturally concerned about safety and well being of their children," Feldman said. "Engineering factors can solve a lot of problems but there's always the human driver aspect of it. Is it 100 percent safe? Nothing is."

Feldman says they use the same criteria for all schools public and private, and even some public elementary schools don't make the cut, but that doesn't make St. Mary's parents feel better.

"The city says it isn't warranted. Well this is a school, I don't know how that can't be more warranted," Vanderburg said. "A point system can work to set a standard, but I'm surprised there are schools in Odessa without school zones even public schools."