Concerned parents of elementary-aged children spoke out during a Northwest Neighborhood Alliance meeting this week, asking the Owensboro Police Department for a heightened presence when children walk home from school each day.
Citing traffic concerns — namely speeding vehicles — that often ignore the crossing guard, they said students are at high risk for being injured by a moving vehicle if something isn’t changed.
One resident acknowledged OPD’s presence in the area, but said something had to be done about the irresponsible driving that was putting children at risk on a daily basis.
“There have been so many close calls,” one resident pointed out. “OPD has a presence, but people get crazy. Somebody is going to get hit.”
According to those in attendance, the two worst spots for reckless driving occur at the intersection of 7th and Castlen streets as well as on 5th Street.
Another resident asked OPD Officer Easton Russelburg if more stop signs could be erected, though Russelburg said that request would have to be fulfilled by City Action.
“People are speeding down 5th,” the resident said. “By the time they see a kid, it may be too late.”
Because the two schools in the area are so close together, traffic congesting the streets during the afternoons has been another ongoing issue.
In addition, residents said the shrubs surrounding the Audubon Area Community Center are too tall, blocking both drivers and pedestrians from being able to navigate the roads safely.
Russelburg said he would work to address the issue as soon as possible, while Owensboro Public Schools Board of Education Vice Chairman Michael Johnson said he would work with the school system on improving the situation from their end.
“I pick my grandkids up, so I’ve seen [the traffic] coming through there,” he said. “We’ll look at that and see what can be done.”
If necessary, Russelberg said OPD could help ease the situation by writing traffic tickets or giving verbal warnings to speeding drivers. Russelburg said he will get the traffic issues addressed as soon as possible.