Parents Want Crosswalks for Garland Charter School

Harmony Science Academy has no crosswalks

By Tammy Mutasa
|  Thursday, Jan 17, 2013  |  Updated 6:55 PM CDT
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Garland parents say trying to get to Harmony Science Academy School across busy Firewheel Parkway is dangerous for students because there is no school zone or crosswalks outside the charter school.

Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Garland Reporter

Garland parents say trying to get to Harmony Science Academy School across busy Firewheel Parkway is dangerous for students because there is no school zone or crosswalks outside the charter school.

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Parents say they want Garland to make safety changes at a charter school that doesn't have crosswalks or speed-zone signs.

Many of the drivers who zoom along Firewheel Parkway don't know Harmony Science Academy is now a location that was once a church, parents say.

"I am very afraid that these children are going to get hit," Rebecca Vollmar said. "They have to actually run as fast as they can to get across this street right here, and cars don't even slow down. There's no school zones. There's no crosswalks. There's no sidewalks."

A church was converted into the Harmony Science Academy when it started three years ago.

"We are in what they consider the walking distance, but I will not allow him to walk to school because crossing this traffic is dangerous, and I just don't think any child should have to cross here," Vollmar said.

Ruth Robinson, another concerned parent, said she doesn't allow her daughter to walk to school, either.

The city said it did a traffic study last year and found that not enough students walked to the charter school to justify a school zone or crosswalks.

But school officials say their walking-pass program for students has been growing.

"There are things that ... we need to work with both the city and parents as the school continues to grow ... because we house 300 more students than a few years ago," Principal Sarah Sponsel said.

The city recently spent thousands of dollars making 21 school crosswalks safer.

The Garland Transportation Department said it has changed the way traffic signals are timed at nearby intersections, giving pedestrians more time to cross, and would monitor the area for the next month. The department said it also would talk with the school and parents.

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