Pick up and drop off time at Davidsonville Elementary School is an accident waiting to happen, according to local parents.
Due to a lack of parking on school grounds, when parents drop off and pick up children, cars queue down Route 214 while waiting to retrieve kids. When the cars try to exit back onto Route 214, the long line of queuing cars reduces visibility and increases the chance for traffic accidents, some parents say.
Speed along 214 is also an issue for cars attempting pull out on to the roadway. The speed limit is set at 40 mph southbound and 50 mph northbound.
“It’s a country road in some respects,” Councilman Jerry Walker (District 7) said. “People are going a pretty good clip past the school.”
Walker attended Wednesday's Anne Arundel County Board of Education meeting Wednesday in support of increased traffic safety in front of the school.
Davidsonville Elementary is a more rural school, Walker
said, so there are very few walkers. Most kids take the bus or are dropped off
by parents. Bus service is available to all children who live a certain
distance from school, but for several reasons, many parents opt to drive their
Joyce Toal said that because of the 3:35 p.m. dismissal time of the school, bus transportation does not always fit into family life.
“A lot of parents pick up their children because they can’t afford to wait for the bus,” Toal said.
Her children, who are in third and fifth grade, play football after school. She said between athletics, homework and dinner, the bus would get her kids home too late.
Ultimately, parents are hoping for a traffic light on 214 in front of the school. However, the necessary studies to install a light could take up to 90 days, one third of the school year.
The board of education supports a traffic light at the school, and have sent letters to SHA to that effect, but members say there is little they can do since Rotue 214 is a state road.
In the mean time, Toal was hoping for a crossing guard, which is the request they put before the board of education Wednesday. Crossing guards are typically intended to direct children, not traffic, so Walker is not sure how feasible this solution would be.
“We’ve been told [by the State Highway Association] if we don’t get a stoplight and it’s too dangerous for a crossing guard we won’t get anything,” Toal said.
The next step, said Toal, is to go back to SHA with a list
of questions, specifically to see if the traffic study can be expedited so a
light could be installed as soon as possible.
In the mean time, Walker is reaching out to the Southern District Commander Southern district to make her aware of the issue.
“I’ll see if they can get a police officer out there on a semi regular basis to help with the situation,” Walker said.
However, the Southern District, which covers Davidsonville, is not as heavily staffed as other districts because it is fewer in citizens and lighter on crime, Walker said, so officers may not always be available to direct traffic or enforce speed in the area.
Parents plan to bring the issue before the board of education again later this month, Toal said.