Parents upset over lack of sidewalks, crosswalks near Clayton school
Posted October 28, 2015
Clayton, N.C. — Hundreds of parents in one Johnston County community are fired up - saying the walk to school for their students is far too dangerous.
River Dell Elementary in Clayton is located on a stretch of Buffalo Road that boasts a 45-mph speed limit in the school zone.
On Wednesday morning, many students had an opportunity to do what parents say they never could - walk to school, as part of Walk to School Day.
"They had to have the fire department block traffic and sheriffs directing us where to walk across the major road," said Janis Gallagher, a concerned parent.
Gallagher said she was drawn to the Flower Plantation community because of its proximity to a great school.
"I'm within walking distance. It was a great bonus," she said.
According to Gallagher and other parents, logistics have gotten in the way.
"No crosswalks, no flashing lights, no traffic lights, no sidewalks...that's not acceptable," said Aisha Bakkar.
A petition, started by parents in effort to make their community more safe, has garnered more than 300 signatures.
"Lower speed limits, flashing lights, crosswalks, sidewalks - that is our goal," Bakkar said.
Officials in Johnston County say they are aware of the issue, but do not have the authority to make changes to Buffalo Road. The project would fall under the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which says it is finalizing the plans to lower the speed limit in front of the school from 55 to 45 mph. During school hours the speed limit would be 35 mph.
Bakkar says the lower speed limit is a start, but her patience is running out.
"So, if it requires the state, or requires the developer to step up and do the right thing, I don't care who does it, I just want it done," she said.
The NCDOT says it cannot install a crosswalk unless there are sidewalks on both sides of the road, which according to a spokesperson, is the responsibility of the property developer.