Local News

Cary Looks To Slow Drivers In School Zones

Posted October 5, 2006

— A week after a student was struck by a car near Green Hope High School, town officials are trying to get the speed limits lowered around many local schools.

Andrew Shurney, 17, was crossing Carpenter-Upchurch Road in front of Green Hope High on Sept. 25 when he was hit by a passing car. Shurney was released from Duke University Hospital on Tuesday and is recovering at home.

No charges have been filed against the driver in the case, but many residents have complained that the speed limit along that stretch of road is 45 mph.

Steven Gebeaux has been lobbying Cary officials to lower speed limits around schools to come into compliance with a town ordinance that mandates a 25 mph limit in school zones.

Gebeaux worries about his 7-year-old son riding his bike to Carpenter Elementary School on a road where cars travel at 35 mph.

"We've been very concerned that, (at) 35 mph, there's just not enough leeway in case there is an accident," he said. "If they're going 35 mph and they hit someone, it just seems to be a little bit too fast."

The Cary Operations Committee approved a plan Wednesday that calls for all 11 public schools on Cary-controlled roads, including Carpenter Elementary, to have 25 mph speed limits. The ordinance will be presented to the Town Council on Oct. 12.

Cary officials also want to work with the state Department of Transportation to improve safety in schools zones on state roads, such as Carpenter-Upchurch Road. They are considering everything from lowering speed limits and upgrading signage to installing flashing lights and crosswalks.

"We don't necessarily own the road. We don't control the schools and where to build them necessarily. However, there are Cary kids going to these schools, and we just came to the realization that it's important to try to do something about this," said Tim Bailey, Cary's chief engineer.

Cary officials plan to meet with representatives of the DOT and Wake County Schools to talk specifically about how to make the area around Green Hope High safer.

"The town of Cary is finally taking the right step and showing that they do care about the citizens, especially the youngest citizens," Gebeaux said.

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