Traffic change coming to 14th Street for back-to-school safety

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
The city of Cassville will be posting a fold-down sign during school drop-offs and pickups in the mornings and afternoons directing drivers traveling west on 14th toward Main Street to not turn left. The change comes on the heels of the MoDOT sidewalk replacement last year, which necessitated school children needing to cross both Main Street, then 14th Street, to get to school. The additional crossing, combined with vehicles making left-hand turns at the intersection creates a potential safety hazard, which Dana Kammerlohr, Cassville police chief, hopes the signage will alleviate. Drivers can choose to turn right onto Main, then turn left onto a side street to come back to Main, or may turn on a side street off of 14th before they get to Main. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

MoDOT sidewalks reason for no left turn onto Main during drop-offs, pick-ups

The beginning of school is always a busy time for parents, students and teachers, and to keep everyone safe in peak school traffic hours, the city of Cassville is directing drivers to make a slight adjustment in their morning school commute.

According to Dana Kammerlohr, Cassville police chief, MoDOT’s installment of the sidewalks last year created a potential safety issue for children traveling on foot and bicycle, parents and officers directing traffic, at the corner of 14th and Main streets, where officers normally direct foot and vehicular traffic coming to and from the Cassville Primary School during the school year. A daycare is located directly across the street, adding to foot traffic.

“MoDOT moved our sidewalks, so children cross the street on Main but also now have to cross 14th Street, too, so it’s hard for the officer to keep up with traffic on three corners where kids are crossing the street in two areas and traffic is turning left,” she said.

To remedy the problem and take measures to prevent potential accidents, the city has placed a fold-down ‘No Left Turn’ sign near the intersection, which can be seen when leaving the school headed west on 14th Street, directing drivers to turn only right onto Main Street.

“If we have drivers turn right only, this will help keep the traffic moving,” she said. “People can also turn before they get to Main Street. “There are at least two side streets before Main, or they can go up past the intermediate school and turn back left to come back to Main.

Kammerlohr said she understands this change is an inconvenience, but it is for everyone’s safety.

“The school and officers came to me with this suggestion, feeling this would be the safest for the children, officers and everyone involved,” she said. “We did have an officer hit two years ago at that location, so we’re asking for peoples’ patience and understanding with the change and extra traffic.”

Kammerlohr also advised parents and drivers in general to be aware of crosswalk personnel on 14th Street helping children cross the street.

“The speed limit there is 10 miles per hour,” she said. “Everyone’s in a hurry, but they need to be extra careful of the children crossing, along with the crosswalk personnel. Even when children are not crossing, they need to drive slowly and be careful. Parents have complained of drivers speeding through there.”

The sign will only be in effect and lowered during the mornings and afternoons when children are crossing the streets.

Kammerlohr said she understands how busy mornings can be with rushing to leave home and get to school on time, but she reminded and strongly advised parents to plan for delays, and leave 5-10 minutes earlier to avoid rushing.

“Just be careful and give yourself plenty of time to get your children to school, because that’s when accidents happen,” she said.

With school starting, Kammerlohr also advised parents to have a talk with their children about safety.

“Tell them not to run out into the street, to look both ways before crossing the street and to be aware of their surroundings [including any adults they do not know trying to speak with them],” she said. “If someone stops and speaks to them or tries to get them into a vehicle, have a safety plan in advance where they can go to find a trusting adult or nearby store. Tell your children not to go with people unless they have permission from their parents. And, consider the age of children walking or biking alone to and from school.”

Drivers not dropping off a child but driving on 14th Street during mornings and afternoons when school is starting or releasing children are encouraged to use an alternate route.

Lastly, Kammerlohr had one last piece of advice.

“All drivers need to be more vigilant and watchful of children during school drop-offs and pickups,” she said.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: