NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Some parents at Bradley Creek Elementary School are concerned not only with the extra traffic a new crosswalk is causing for drivers, but for the safety of their students as well.
According to parents, the new crosswalk forces their children to cross two streets with help from only one crossing guard.
The old crosswalk had students cross Greenville Loop Road one time in front of the school. However the new crosswalk is on the other side of the school's entrance. That means students not only have to wait for the crossing guard to stop traffic on Greenville Loop Road to go to school, but they also have to wait on the sidewalk for the crossing guard to stop the traffic entering and exiting the school, so they can cross a second street.
The parents said they love the crossing guard, but explain it's too much work for one person.
"You've got one crossing guard and two cross walks, and you've got little kids who are excited to get home, he can't lasso them and keep them tied into the crosswalk so they are running ahead. I just heard a car skid right here as they were coming down, so it's extremely dangerous and pretty poor planning I would say," said Stephan Baynard, the father of a 2nd grader at the school.
His wife says the new crosswalk caught them off guard in the morning and their son was almost hit by a car.
"Suddenly there is a new crosswalk and I got a child darting across it and going across the other way, you know the crossing guard can't keep up with him, so no that's not fun," said Kate Baynard.
"In order for this to work with one crossing guard, he has to be in the middle of Greenville Loop Road, allow the children to cross Greenville Loop Road, and then this to me becomes the most dangerous part of it, he has to get the children from the sidewalk across the three lanes of traffic entering and exiting Bradley Creek Elementary School and the cars are flying around the corner and they are waiting to exit Bradley Creek at the same time and I just see a nightmare waiting to happen," said Eleanor Shakar. "This doesn't seem to be the safe route to school they promised, this is a very unsafe route," she later said.
"I'm worried about them crossing in so much traffic," said Catherine Hundley.
The new crosswalk was put into use for the first time Wednesday morning and many parents said traffic was a nightmare and was jammed for 20 minutes.
They said there was a long backup of cars trying to turn right into the school, and an even longer backup of cars trying to get out.
A sheriff's deputy was called Wednesday morning to help direct traffic.
Parents said they were especially worried about their children having to cross the street twice now, with all the frustrated drivers.
"The angrier the drivers get the more there is a safety concern for the students and the crossing guard," said Kate Baynard. She says it's frustrating because parents warned that the new plan would create problems as it was being constructed.
Officials in Wilmington said they met with school officials and the sheriff's office Tuesday and will meet with them again Friday.
They are working on solutions that could include re-establishing the old crosswalk, but leaving the new one – making a total of three crosswalks or adding more signs.