Parents concerned for children crossing busy roads walking to and from school

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 7:24 PM EDT
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Some Short Pump parents are worried about their children’s safety walking to and from school.

They said their kids are walking across busy roads to get to several schools and the crosswalks are inadequate.

With ongoing bus issues in Henrico County, parents said more students in the Twin Hickory community are opting to walk to and from school. Those parents believe there are some things the county can do to make that walk safer.

“It’s been an issue almost every morning crossing this street with people not stopping,” said Twin Hickory Elementary School parent Andy Rhodes. “There have been days where I’ve literally had to pull my daughter back by her backpack.”

It is a thought no parent ever wants to think about - a child getting hit by a car on the way to school.

However, it is an even bigger concern for Rhodes after the crossing guard at Twin Hickory Elementary was reassigned this school year.

“I guess there are schools in the district that need crossing guards and they have a shortage,” he said.

Henrico Police said Wednesday the decision to reassign the guard was made during the 2020-2021 school year.

“Transportation is provided by Henrico County Public Schools to those students who must cross Twin Hickory Lake Drive,” a spokesperson said. “Henrico Police is working with multiple county agencies to provide a comprehensive response regarding the complexities of this decision.”

But due to delays with buses and a back-up in the pickup and drop-off lanes, parents, like Rhodes, walk their children to and from school, but it’s been difficult getting across the four lanes of Twin Hickory Lake Drive.

“No one goes 25 [mph] through here, no one stops for pedestrians in the crosswalk - well I can’t say no one, but most people don’t stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks,” he said. “It’s just a huge safety issue.”

The county has put up pedestrian crossing signs in the median and also repainted the crosswalk for more visibility.

The County’s Public Works Director, Terrell Hughes, said his department will look into the issue at the intersection of Twin Hickory Lake Drive and Saddleridge Road to see if a flashing pedestrian beacon could be installed.

Meanwhile, parents have other concerns with crosswalks in the area.

“The crosswalk where kids are supposed to go to the high school (Deep Run), is obscured by the curve,” said parent Ashley Colvin. “It’s not possible to see the crosswalk until cars actually come right up on it. So lots of kids will step out into the crosswalk.”

Colvin said bushes hide the crosswalk on the curve near Deep Run High School. While DMV statistics show no pedestrian accidents in the last five years, Colvin would like the crosswalk moved.

“If they moved it about 10 feet [forward] so it was visible to drivers as they drove down the road... then it would increase pedestrian safety and make it safer for the drivers as well,” he said.

Relocating the actual crosswalk might prove more difficult, according to the public works department. However, Hughes said his department plans to reach out to the neighborhood homeowners association to figure out a way to make the crosswalk near Deep Run High School safer.

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