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Child struck by auto spurs traffic safety concerns

20111014_CrosswalkMISSION — The growing population and the traffic congestion created in Mission, especially around schools, caused concerns among the Traffic Safety Committee after a child was hit at a crosswalk near Castro Elementary last month.

The Traffic Safety Committee and Mission Police Department came up with additional precautions to be used where traffic is congested around Castro Elementary and Mission Junior High. Ordinances based on these concerns were passed at Monday’s city council meeting.

Assistant Police Chief Martin Garza said the incident at Castro Elementary occurred at 7:45 a.m. on Sept. 21 when a mother dropped her child off in an area that was not in the loading and unloading zone.

The parent, who parked in a “no parking, no standing zone,” was watching her child cross the street. But she struck another child in the crosswalk at the corner of Mayberry and Citriana streets as she started to move while still watching her child. Police said crossing guards had finished their shift in watching the crossing zones, so the child was crossing by himself.

The boy was not badly hurt; he was taken to the hospital as a precaution, but released after examination.

Garza stressed the need for parents to use the drop-off and pick up zones at all schools to prevent children being hit by cars as they crossed streets.

“When parents stop in locations across the street instead of going through the lines it creates more congestion than it would by going through the lines,” Garza said.

Ordinance #3702 calls for “no parking, no standing” signs to be posted on the east and west sides of the road at the 100 block of South Mayberry Road between 7-8 a.m. and 2:30-5 p.m. on days when school is in session. This will prevent parked cars from hindering the movement of traffic through the pick-up/drop-off zones.

Ordinance #3701 establishes a “no parking, no standing zone” for the 1400 and 1500 blocks of Doherty Avenue between 7-8:30 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. on days when school is in session. This is near Mission Junior High and is always congested at those hours.

Ordinance #3704 called for the creation of crosswalks at the intersection of 15th and Doherty streets. It also approved the 1400 and 1500 blocks of Doherty Avenue as an official school zone, which automatically establishes the speed limit on Doherty Avenue in the two blocks as 20 miles per hour.

Garza said the signs denoting the changes should be in place by the beginning of next week. Police will be patrolling to see that drivers adhere to the changes.

“It starts with the parents,” said Garza. “If all parents follow the ordinance and use the drop-off/pick-up areas provided by the schools or the crosswalks, the children would be safe. Parents need to be aware of their surroundings when leaving children as there are many other children trying to get to school safely, as well.”

In other traffic related issues, Ordinance #3703 set the speed limit on the newly completed length of West Military Parkway to the west of Conway Avenue. The speed limit was set at 45 miles per hour. This begins with Block 100 West Military Parkway to the 1100 Block of West Military Parkway. At that juncture, the parkway climbs up on the levy, which is under the jurisdiction of Hidalgo County. At block 2200, West Military Parkway is once again in the city and extends all the way to the 4100 Block at Bentsen Palm Drive. The speed limit is again 45 miles per hour.

Garza said the county would set the speed upon the levy road. Meanwhile, he advised drivers to use caution, as high speeds on the levy are dangerous.

In closing, Garza reminded citizens to follow laws about cell phones and texting. It is unlawful to text while driving anywhere in the City of Mission. It is also against the law to talk on cell phones while driving in a school zone.

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