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Parents concerned over new NLRHS crosswalk | News

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Parents concerned over new NLRHS crosswalk

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A new school year brings lots of excitement, but it can also carry with it new concerns.

North Little Rock parents are worried about a new crosswalk between the student parking lot and the high school on Main Street. It's still two weeks from completion, but kids need to cross four lanes of traffic to get to the student lot.

"It's a lot of kids [that cross here]. I didn't know it was this much," said mother Frankie Perkins. "I park right in front of the school purposefully so that I can try and catch [my son] before the traffic really hits."

Luckily, the children have a friend on their side, guiding their walk to freedom.

"I like the kids," Joe Gill said. "Mostly, I've been working here for about 24 years."

A veteran of the craft, Gill was recently assigned to work the crosswalk that has drawn concern from parents.

"Well, you know, I worry about cars not paying attention," said father Tony Smith.

"They definitely need more people out here to volunteer, because there's too many kids running across," Perkins added.

Parents think the district needs to take extra measures to ensure safety.

"I think they should've built a bridge over the street instead of walking across it," Smith explained.

Some have spoken about a walking bridge or even a tunnel, but the school district says two years of study and analysis went into the decision to build what is called a HAWK system.

"You'll have flashing lights that turn flashing yellow, flashing red then go to solid red," said Superintendent Kelly Rodgers explaining the system.

"I would much rather have that than having students darting around avoiding the bridge," Rodgers elaborated.

Studies by the U.S. Department of Traffic show the HAWK system decreases crashes with pedestrians by 69 percent, decreasing overall crashes by 23 percent.

In 2014, two students were hit by cars at the intersection before the crosswalk was installed.