Parents fear students’ bad driving habits in lot
Drivers could be fined $164
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 09:10
Dodging a light here and there, gently rolling though a stop sign, making a left turn around a sign with a huge red line through it — they don’t seem like big deals when traffic is backed up. However, students avoiding one light on campus are causing particular concerns.
The Creative School for Children, located on the corner of Libra Drive and Gemini Boulevard, has several cars cut through its one-way parking lot every day in order to avoid the traffic light. About 20 tickets have been issued in the past month to drivers who have used the school’s parking lot as a detour.
“The majority of them are students, faculty and staff who don’t want to wait because the light gets backed up,” Jeannette Emert, UCF community relations officer, said. “It is illegal to avoid a traffic control device, and the fine is $164.”
The police department began ticketing people more heavily when parents and staff from the school complained that children were in danger from cars speeding through the lot.
Kimberly Campese, associate director of the Creative School for Children, said there have been some close calls in the parking lot.
“The kids are pretty oblivious to what’s going on; it’s the parents who have had the scares,” Campese said. “We had a dad last week who said he was opening the car door and had to throw his leg out in front of his little girl because a car was flying by.”
The school does have two speed bumps at the entrance and exit of the lot, but cars cutting through are swerving around the bumps, Campese said. There are plans to add additional bumps to make it harder for cars to avoid them and a larger sign on the building that identifies it as a children’s school.
“Our biggest concern is that they’re not slowing down right in front of the building where parents drop off the children,” Campese said. “We’ve even had semi-tractors and a Bobcat cut through there.”
The school operates from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and children ages 2 to 5 years old are dropped off at various hours throughout the day. Since the evening program began on Aug. 20, parents have become increasingly nervous about cars speeding through the lot, Emert said.
“Parents who have more than one child find it very scary to try to keep an eye on a 3-year-old while getting an infant out of a carrier,” Emert, whose son attends the school, said. “It is a problem we have had for years.”
No one has been hurt, and the police department is working with the school to prevent injuries from happening in the future. The school has put child-size signs with flags in them at the entrance to the parking lot, warning drivers to slow down. “No thru traffic” signs were also placed at the entrances.
“It’s like nobody seems to see them or they ignore it or they don’t understand what it means,” Emert said. “It’s probably due to poor design, but nobody has the money right now to put up automated traffic arms.”
Children and parents aren’t the only ones at risk, Campese said. A staff member was almost hit walking from her car to the building after lunch.
“We have other things that we’re going to keep trying,” Emert said. “But we’re hoping that just getting the word out that it is against the law to cut through there, that will slow people down and they will be patient and just make the turn at the light."