Parking change sparks safety concerns at HISD school

December 3, 2011 4:45:12 AM PST
A battle is brewing in the Fourth Ward between homeowners and elementary school parents. It's happening around the Gregory Lincoln Education Center off Taft and West Dallas, and the situation is possibly putting students in danger.

Neighbors say it's a problem they want the city to solve. Some parents have been ticketed waiting inside their cars to pick up their children from school. Community members say a change in signs have created an unsafe atmosphere for kids getting to and from school.

Everyday, parents say they face the same issue.

"I see big problems out here because there are a lot of cars driving by fast, there aer children weaving in and out and I'm very concerned about safety issues," parent Pam Gayle said.

"Well, they're driving slow today -- most of them -- but they won't slow to let the kids cross right here, the ones who walk home," parent Sandra Joseph said.

Parents point to these "no parking" signs as the problem. The signs were recently placed on the Taft side of the school, located in Freedman's Town just west of downtown. Parents must now park on the opposite side.

"And I witness this every morning with these kids running across the street," parent Tanga Harrell said.

HISD does provide a crossing guard and police patrol but acknowledges the changes have created a safety problem. HISD, in a prepared statement, says they are working with the city and community "in hopes of reaching an agreement to allow parents to park at the campus' normal pick-up sites for a limited period during dismissal time in an effort to maintain the safety of the children."

One of the neighbors who lives across the street from the school says he complained to the city his because driveway was blocked by parked cars. The neighbor did not want to be identified.

However, other members of the community say there is a compromise.

"It could have been worded to say loading and unloading at specified times," neighbor Gladys House said.

"That would be an acceptable alternative?" we asked.

"Definitely," she said.

Houston Councilman C.O. Bradford says he is working to change the wording of the sign to allow for parents to pick up and drop off their kids safely.


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