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Parents concerned about street safety near new Overland Park elementary school

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The day before school starts, some Johnson County parents say they're just now hearing from Overland Park officials about a dangerous stretch of road. A metro mom said the road in front of Brookwood Elementary School is an accident waiting to happen.

The school has moved to a temporary location on 103rd between Mission and Roe while the district reconstructs its permanent building.

Jenny Pendleton has two children that will start classes at Brookwood Friday morning. She used to walk them to school at the original building but now that its moved to a temporary location down the street, she doesn't feel that's a safe option. She said parents have tried since January to get answers from the city of Overland Park.

She suggests, "Just put out some flashing lights and make it obvious that it's a school zone."

Sean Reilly said the city has partnered with the Shawnee Mission School District, Overland Park Police, and the city of Leawood in preparation for the start of the school year.

He said, "The city has installed school zone signs to alert drivers that there is a school there."

FOX 4 counted 3 yellow and black school zone signs, but we didn't see any flashing lights or a stop button, no painted words on the street like the original Brookwood, and no reduced speed in the school zone.

Reilly said, "It’s no different than 95th Street where there are some schools along there too that don’t have reduced speeds."

At 40 miles an hour, and with the risk of distracted driving, Pendleton is worried about people who will fly though the area in front of the school. She said, "You could easily be going 50 miles an hour."

The school has two driveways but no crosswalks on the length of the block. Walking students will have to walk to an intersection on either end. The city said that's where they will have crossing guards from Overland Park and Leawood.

Pendleton worries about those walking students. She said, "Particularly the ones right across the street, are they going to walk all the way down to 103rd and Mission, cross the street, and then walk all the way back? It just doesn’t make any sense."

Reilly said, "I’m a parent myself. A lot of us are parents that are watching this, and we do empathize."

The district is providing free bus service to all students, but the mom said what parents are proposing is an easy fix. She said, "I could paint, I could get out there and put some street paint down if they would let me."

The message from the city is to drivers. "You need to exercise caution and good judgement, obey the laws, and look out for these kids."

Overland Park said extra officers will be out around the city both on the first day of school and for several days next week. Reilly also said a traffic control engineer will be on hand at Brookwood to see what needs might arise and how to best control traffic. The city also put up a traffic radar near 103rd and Mission to alert drivers to their speed.