Family hospitalized in car crash, school works to get new safety measures established

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A mother and her four children went to the hospital after a car crash Tuesday morning right outside of the KIPP North Campus in Austin. 

They were struck by a car at an intersection school leaders said has caused problems for years. 

The school district said everyone is doing well and out of the hospital, but are suffering from some lingering bumps and bruises. 

At this location off of U.S. Highway 183 and Cameron Road in North Austin, three KIPP Texas Public Schools occupy a busy six lane road. 

“There have been several accidents here before,” said Tiana Symmonds, the Managing Director of Operations for KIPP Texas Public Schools. 

“It’s just a very dangerous stretch of road,” said Candice McNair, a mother to two boys currently attending KIPP Austin Comunidad. 

There are no school zone warnings here to alert drivers. For years, both parents and administration have asked for a fix. 

“We’ve worked with the city at meetings to look at what are some options that we can put into place. Unfortunately none of those have panned out,” Symmonds said. 

On Tuesday, the second day of school, a family saw the problem firsthand. 

A mom and her four kids were trying to cross two lanes into the KIPP Austin parking lot when they were struck by a car heading South toward U.S. Highway 183. It’s a section of the city that is constantly bombarded with early morning, rush hour traffic.  

Parents are worried this will happen again. 

“I don’t think cars are aware that there is a school here as they are gearing up to get on 183,” McNair said.

A City of Austin Transportation spokesperson said there aren’t enough kids walking to class to justify a school zone and speed bumps aren’t practical for this type of road. There are crosswalks and lights on Cameron Road, just not in front of the school. 

“You cannot put a school zone here, but what can be done? You can’t do nothing,” McNair said. 

The city transportation department said there are other factors also to consider. 

The area is not residential, so parents are less likely to let their kids walk to class, the speed limit on Cameron Road is 40 miles per hour and school zones aren’t meant to slow down traffic, just to increase driver awareness that there could be kids present. 

There is also a process to get a school zone in the City of Austin. 

You would go through the school’s campus advisory council and then the city’s Transportation Department. They’d need to do an engineering and traffic study to decide on recommendations.  

It’s a very similar process if you need to go through TxDOT. You will want to know which jurisdiction the proposed school zone is in to move forward with the process. 

School administrators said despite being turned down in the past, they will try again to see if they can spark change. 

“I realize that we are off of a major artery of 183, but that shouldn’t stop us from having a safe passage on and off of the street,” Symmonds said. 

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