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Construction causes crosswalk concerns near Collinwood charter school

Lakeshore Intergenerational School
Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-01 18:33:54-04

CLEVELAND — Parents of students at a public charter school in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland are frustrated with speeding drivers and school zone signs that are difficult to see.

With construction happening on Marcella Road, where the main entrance of Lakeshore Intergenerational School sits, students are being dropped off and picked up on Neff Road, on the school's other side. Parents and school officials said they needed help from the city of Cleveland to make Neff Road a safer place for children to cross.

The construction is part of a Cleveland Water project, according to a spokesperson for the city, and the project is expected to be complete in about a year. Michael Polensek, who represents Ward 8 on Cleveland City Council, said the part on Marcella Road will likely be complete by late fall or early winter of this year.

Lakeshore Intergenerational School
PHOTO: The speed limit sign at the intersection of Neff and Sable is mounted high above the road.

But with people driving faster than the school zone speed limit and signs that are difficult to see because they are mounted high above the road, parent Sindia Powers is among those who are worried for student safety.

"I’m just concerned somebody’s kid is going to get hit, injured, killed," Powers said.

Powers, who has two children in Lakeshore Intergenerational School, said she is worried about the crosswalk on Neff Road.

"We’ve had cars going around other vehicles, almost hitting children or slamming on their brakes, trying not to hit a child because they’re not paying attention that the child was actually crossing at a crosswalk," Powers said.

Brooke King, executive director for the Intergenerational Schools, said the school is in its sixth year at this location and that drop-off and pickup on the Marcella Road side were a "well-oiled machine," with staff getting approximately 240 students to vehicles or across the street safely.

"As of late this summer, we had to recalibrate and figure out how we were going to move the students in and out safely," King said.

She noted the school rents its building from the Diocese of Cleveland and didn't receive notice of the construction until July.

"We were notified pretty late in the game about this project, because I think some people don’t realize that we are a public school renting space in this facility," King said.

While the school community is aware of the crosswalk concerns, King said, "the problem is the greater community that maybe is coming down this road and doesn’t see the signs right away, doesn’t see a flashing school sign. That’s a little harder to control."

She also added that the school was asking for the city to do a study to see if the area "warrants an additional stop sign" and "additional blinking school lights," as well as a crossing guard.

Carl Bell, a neighbor who lives on Neff Road, has seen the issues firsthand.

"We got people doing 40, 50 miles a hour, up and down the street," Bell said.

With a granddaughter who is in sixth grade at the school, Bell said he's worried about student safety.

"It’s about all the kids' safety," Bell said. "They’re our future. If we don’t take care of them, who will?"

News 5 called the city of Cleveland about the issues and what is being done to fix them.

According to a city spokesperson, the city installed flashing lights along Neff Road in August 2018 and added flashing lights on Marcella Road at the end of last school year. The city also said it installed a sign prohibiting parking from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days, and that it has a work order to do more trimming around school zone signs, which it plans to complete soon.

The city also said the crossing guard the school requested will be provided. The spokesperson said that person will attend orientation this Friday and start work right away.

Lakeshore Intergenerational School
PHOTO: Construction on Marcella Road that is part of a Cleveland Water project has blocked off much of the entrance to Lakeshore Intergenerational School.

With construction still going on, parents like Sindia Powers are hoping to see changes soon.

"This whole situation is just like a recipe for our kids to be injured, killed, and something needs to be done right away," Powers said.