Local elementary schools without a school zone are an accident waiting to happen according to some parents. While there are several schools without a specific zone across the city, IDEA River Bluff is causing concern in particular.
The school recently opened its new location on University Boulevard and has 324 students enrolled including elementary and middle school students, according to its website (IDEA River Bluff - IDEA Public Schools). There is currently no specified school zone, flashing lights, or even crosswalk for some students who walk to class. The speed limit posted across the street is 40 MPH.
“It’s a speedway out there,” Dequavise Staggers, a father, said. “Anything could happen. I don’t want anything to happen to anyone else’s kid — or my kid and then for it to be too late.”
Staggers helps his first-grade daughter cross the road daily, but Action News Jax cameras spotted several kids in the middle of the road with no help.
“Someone will get hit,” he said.
Just about a mile down the road is Arlington Elementary, which is also on University Boulevard, but does have a school zone and 15 MPH speed limit.
A representative for the City of Jacksonville said a school must first submit a request for a reduced-speed school zone or school crossing. A traffic engineer then conducts a study to determine the number of students walking to school, the walking path, and the speed limit of the road.
Action News Jax Investigates discovered there’s a total of 22 elementary schools currently without a school zone.
Below is the full list:
Since University Boulevard is a state road, the request goes through FDOT. A representative for the department said IDEA Public Schools does have a permit and is required to install a school zone.
In a statement, the school said, “The safety of our students and families is our number one priority. We are working with city officials, including the Florida Department of Transportation, to secure a school zone for IDEA River Bluff. Plans were recently approved, and we are reviewing a construction timeline moving forward. We appreciate the patience of our parents and urge all drivers to exercise an overabundance of caution while in school zones to help ensure the safety of our children.”
“It’s just the small things that matter because at the end of the day — everybody wants their kid to feel safe,” Staggers said.
The city also noted that school zones are only meant to assist elementary children. Middle and high school students are treated like the average pedestrian crossing a street.
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