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Sidewalks to help ease fears for students walking to new school

Posted August 26, 2008

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— The Wake County school system is taking steps to make the walk to a new elementary school safer for students.

Some parents at Sycamore Creek Elementary School were upset that their children had to walk to school along busy Leesville Road. Portions of the road and several side streets do not have sidewalks.

"I'm upset because I do feel it's unsafe,” parent Barbara Bateman said.

Children living within 1.5 miles of the school, at 10921 Leesville Road, are not offered bus transportation. School officials said they studied the area surrounding the school and determined it is safe for students to walk; however, some parents say safety measures are needed.

"It lacks sidewalk and it lacks crossing guards where there are major intersections,” Bateman said.

School officials said Tuesday a sidewalk will soon be added to link one neighboring community to the new school.

School officials said the project was part of the original design, but never completed.

"I believe it is on the fast track. I talked to the project manager myself, and he is aware that we are implementing these new procedures beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 2. And that's our hope and wish that it is going to be completed before then,” Kristen Faircloth, principal of Sycamore Creek Elementary School, said.

Transportation leaders will meet with concerned parents about the walk policy Wednesday afternoon.

The school system's transportation director said he will answer questions, but can't say if there will be any changes in the busing procedures.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • sggoodri Aug 27, 2008

    Is Wake County building sidewalks beyond the school property frontage?

    I would be surprised to hear so, because in NC, counties don't build or improve roads; that falls to the state or to the city. If a road passes through an unincorporated part of the county, no city will pay to add sidewalk to it, and it's virtually impossible to get the state to do so. Here in Cary the roads between my home and nearby schools have lacked sidewalks for many years. Some were surrounded by land that was still not annexed into the town, others are planned for eventual widening and the town is unwilling to add sidewalks where they might get torn up for a widening project a decade or so later.

    Usually, the school just builds sidewalks to the edge of the property and they stop there. Not until the property along the road edge get redeveloped (e.g. new subdivisions) or the road gets 4-laned do sidewalks typically get installed. I'd be excited to find out about something different this time.

  • kritik Aug 27, 2008

    From an economic, public health, and environmental standpoint, encouraging students to walk to school is a good idea. Granted, Wake County needs to provide additional crosswalks, sidewalks, and crossing guards to ensure the physical safety for those who walk. Childhood obesity was not as much of an issue as it is today, and a fair number of objective studies make a connection between more hours spent in vehicles (i.e. not walking to school or playing outdoors) and weight gain. I'm sure that some of the parents' concerns are valid, but what's wrong with encouraging children to take minor (calculated) "risks" like learning how to function independently in the world at an early age? Many of us walked to school and turned out just fine ;)

  • mikalamarie Aug 27, 2008

    With me it is about safety AND walking. I am over 1.5 miles inside dominion park according to yahoo maps, yet we arent provided a bus. Prior to choosing this school, I specifically asked about bus transportation. What gets me is that our principal was at these meetings and heard this, yet she is not on our side.
    The ONLY way this would work would be to have sidewalks in dominion park and crossing guards at the busy intersections.
    STILL yahoo maps calls this more than 1.5 miles from my house.

    For those of you that are sceptics about the distance. The streets are englehardt, vosburgh and the back section of miranda drive (near the pool) that are more than 1.5 miles from the school. PLEASE before calling us lazy parents...plug these house numbers into yahoo and see for yourself. Go for a 3 mile walk yourself and time how long it takes...add a child carrying a backpack with you for the first 1.7 miles, and tell me that YOU have that kind of time every single day.

  • JAT Aug 27, 2008

    I'll repeat it till it sinks again- it's not about the fact they have to walk. It's about SAFETY. No parent should want his or her child to have to walk a mile along Leesville Road. It was CRAZY this morning, though the WRAL truck didn't help any I suppose. What's going to happen is all the parents are going to drive their kid to school resulting in the worlds longest carpool line and other people (including teachers) won't be able to get to work.

  • colliedave Aug 26, 2008

    Have the kids walk and aggressively monitor the speed in the area.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Aug 26, 2008

    And you wonder why we have an obesity problem with our kids??? It is because of parents like these who are too lazy to walk to school with their kids, which would have been the best way to deal with this so-called "safety" problem. Instead, they shoot their jaws and complain. 1.5 miles: I can walk to and from school in less than 30-45 minutes round-trip. I can afford the time and energy to walk my kid to school, why can't these lazy adults. What a joke!

  • ShareTheRoad Aug 26, 2008

    part 2 to my rant, lol:

    The neighbor pointed out that my son could ride the bus to school as well. He said that if there was ever a situation where I wasn't home and coulnd't pick him up from school, I could call the school and let them know, and have them put him on the bus to come home. I said, ya, thats great and then what? He gets off at an empty house and goes in to make a sandwich??

    Seriously....I'm completely angry about this. I'm glad that the neighbor thinks its great to catch a bus for a 5 minute walk or 30 second ride to school, but I find it to be a complete waste of tax dollars. I seem to remember getting some letter in the mail asking if I'd like to have my kid sent to one of the other area schools because Wendell Elementary scored poorly on the No Child Left Behind stuff...maybe we could use some of these ridiculous bus ride funds to increase teacher effectiveness in the classrooms? >=o(

  • ShareTheRoad Aug 26, 2008

    How is it that kids out there have to live further than 1.5miles from school to get a bus ride, but kids at Wendell Elementary can live less than half a mile and get a bus ride?

    I commented on a busing blog yesterday about this and I'm still fuming. I live .6 miles from Wendell Elementary. I was shocked to see the girl across the road from me getting off the bus. I checked with her dad and yes, she does attend Wendell Elementary. He said that all our kids can get a bus ride to school, and was glad because 'that's our tax dollars at work. We're PAYING for that.' He then showed me the route, which has three stops before letting off on our street. The first stop is at 35 N Buffalo St. It is literally 2/10ths of a mile from the school. You can SEE the school from their yard.

    Seriously...who do we need to voice our concerns to? I dont want to just be mad...I'd like to be proactive. This is ridiculous!!!