Parents Pushing for School Zone Near Fasken Elementary

Parents Pushing for School Zone Near Fasken Elementary

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Parents are pushing for the addition of traffic lights, crossing guards, sidewalks or a designated school crossing at Holiday Hill Road and Sherwood Drive.

Dozens of Midland Independent School District students throughout the neighborhood are preparing to head back to school on Wednesday, prompting a wave of concern among parents.

"I'm really nervous," said Christine Smith, a working mother of four. "I'm going to be about an hour and a half late to work tomorrow just to get them to all their destinations. I'm going to be relying on different family members to pick them up because I don't want them walking home from Greathouse or Fasken, across Holiday Hill Road."

Children in the neighborhood attending MISD schools will need to cross or walk along Holiday Hill Road in order to reach their bus stops or campuses, she told NewsWest 9.

"There's always traffic coming and going and even though the speed limit is 40 [miles per hour], it's more like 50 or 60 [to some drivers]," Smith said. "We always here screeching tires and drag racing."

Her oldest daughter, rising freshman Jordyn Smith, will walk a mile and a half - a portion of which will be along Holiday Hill Road - to catch her bus to Lee High.

"It doesn't matter if I go east or west, because there are no sidewalks [either way]," the incoming ninth grader said. "Honestly, I don't want to do it because it's a long walk and there are reckless drivers."

Her younger sister, rising first grader Addison Smith, doesn't have a bus stop to walk to. She is one of several children in the neighborhood who will be walking directly to newly opened Fasken Elementary.

"We don't have a bus route this year," her mother said. "It's close, but I would have preferred having a bus... If she and her siblings were walking in the same direction or to the same bus stop, they could have at least looked out for each other."

Her son, Carver Center student Ryan Smith, vowed to keep a close eye on Addison because "drivers probably won't be looking out for her."

"There are a lot of crazy drivers and drag racers, and I don't know if they'll actually be willing to stop for a child crossing the road," he said.

District administrators informed parents that officers will be on hand to supervise children crossing Holiday Hill Road for about a month, according to Smith.

Meanwhile, city officials are taking steps to potentially establish a designated school crossing at Holiday Hill and Sherwood Drive.

A spokesperson for the city of Midland emailed the following statement to NewsWest 9:

"The City of Midland works with MISD to identify potential areas in need of a school zone or crossing each summer, and especially so this year due to the addition of three new elementary schools. In June, we passed the list of school zones and crossings that would be in effect for the upcoming school year. At the time of the initial meeting with MISD, it was expected that students would not be crossing Holiday Hill Road to reach the school due to the distance of the homes on the east side of the road from the school, and parents' concerns about children crossing a major arterial. However, since that meeting and the latest Council action, MISD has contacted our transportation division and requested that a designated school crossing be provided on Holiday Hill Road at Sherwood Drive to accommodate pedestrian and bicycle activity to and from the Green Tree and Green Hill Terrace subdivisions.

We went ahead and brought the first reading of an ordinance including this addition, but given the late change in plans regarding this crossing, the earliest that a school zone could be put in effect would be after the second reading of the ordinance by City Council in the first week of September. Student activity in the area will be closely monitored after school starts on August 26. From what we see once school starts, we will decide whether there is adequate demand to justify a school crossing and associated speed reduction. If so, the appropriate signs and markings will be installed, and the ordinance will already be in place. If the demand does not materialize, we will delay installing the school zone, and it will not be enforceable without the corresponding signs in place. If it is ultimately determined that the school zone is not warranted, then it will be removed from the ordinance in a future update."