By Robert Nathan
Killeen Daily Herald
The City Council's transportation committee is addressing two proposals designed to enhance safety for children walking to school.
Additional sidewalks could soon be constructed near two schools on Rancier Avenue if the council approves a $200,000 design contract.
The transportation committee Tuesday discussed the possibility of constructing sidewalks near Rancier Middle School and Brookhaven Elementary School.
Funding for the design and construction of the sidewalks would come from the city's child safety fund.
"This would be a good program for us to get started and continue on year after year, as the money becomes available, to ensure we continue to provide safe routes to schools," Public Works Director Jim Butler said. "Basically, what we're talking about doing is coming up with a set of sidewalks to and from schools."
Butler said the Killeen Independent School District identified an area along Rancier Avenue as one of the most dangerous places for children to walk to school. He said city ordinances require developers to build sidewalks on their lots, but some of the area is still undeveloped and has no sidewalks.
"In and around this particular area, some of these homes existed before that code came to be," Butler said. "Until somebody builds there, there is going to be nowhere for these kids to walk to school."
In other business, the committee discussed designing and developing a school bus turnaround on Lobrecht Court and Western Swing Court, which is near the Saegert Ranch housing development.
Butler said that if the turnaround is constructed, parking would have to be restricted on the Western Swing Court cul-de-sac, and Lobrecht Court parking could be restricted during specific hours on school days.
Currently, buses have no place to turn around, and students living in the area have to walk to W.S. Young Drive to be picked up for school.
"This is a fix to a bad situation," Planning Director Tom Dann said.
The proposal brought mixed reactions from committee members.
"If I was a homeowner living on the cul-de-sac, I wouldn't be happy with the suggestions," said Councilman Fred Latham, the committee's chairman.
Mayor Tim Hancock, suggested the city should talk to residents living on the cul-de-sacs before the issue is taken to the City Council.