Parents express safety concerns for students crossing busy road near construction

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Parents worry that construction to rebuild a school in Overland Park might put their kids in danger. They’re worried about traffic at a busy intersection right next to Trailwood Elementary in the Shawnee Mission School District.

Morning rush hour means congested streets. That’s the case for 95th & Roe, a huge intersection. The traffic already makes it hard for kids to get to school

“Walking to school or biking, but not comfortable with having them cross that busy road, especially with a six-year-old,” said parent Deborah Mower.

Mower moved to the neighborhood so that her three kids could walk to school, but that option is becoming much harder. She’s excited that a new school building is going up at Trailwood Elementary, but also afraid the construction might mean more traffic.

“I like to have them walk. We just go down the street. We have to cross 95th and Roe. It’s pretty busy and there’s no crossing guard there,” she says.

Parents are trying to get a crossing guard, a speed limit school zone, or a bus to make things safer. PTA President Christa Rupp encourages carpooling.

“I noticed even in the last year or so the increase of kids walking down Roe,” Rupp said  She added that it’s better to be proactive than reactive. She says the school has been very open to the parent’s concerns.

The construction will change the drop-off and pick-up zone. The school’s parking lot will be fenced off and drivers will weave through another route and then pour back onto 95th St. Workers will build the new school on the property and demolish the old building. The project will take about two-and-a-half years.

“95th and Roe is a hazardous intersection for pedestrians any time. So the decision to walk across that intersection should be taken with gravity,” said John Douglass, the Director of Emergency Resources at the Shawnee Mission School District. He says the school will closely monitor the progress.

The Shawnee Mission School District is working closely with two cities to provide a solution. Trailwood borders Overland Park and Prairie Village. The cities will provide crossing guards. Douglass says Prairie Village is actively considering it.

The ultimate goal is to find a solution to keep children safe.

“A lot of parents know there’s no crossing guard there. Put a cross guard there and I bet that would change a lot,” said Mower.