INDIANAPOLIS — A mother concerned about student safety wanted to know why there are no school zone signs on two busy roads near her son's elementary school.
Stout Field Elementary School sits on the corner of Sam Jones Expressway and Holt Road on the southwest side.
"People fly down here constantly," Desiree Mitchell, mother of a Stout Field student, said. "It's horrible. There are accidents all the time at this intersection. They fly down here; it's a 40, and they do 60."
Mitchell grew up in Wayne Township and went to Stout Field. Now, she has a second grad son at the school. Her concern is there are no school zone signs on Holt Road or Sam Jones Expressway.
"I honestly think putting the school zones with the flashing lights because that will make it better because they start school so early here at 7 a.m.; it's dark. We need school signs," Mitchell said.
There is a school zone sign on the corner near Stout Field Elementary, on Bradbury Street. However, that road is not as busy as Holt Road and Sam Jones Expressway.
After reaching out to Wayne Township, RTV6 found out where that school zone signs placed is up to the Department of Public Works — the school has no say.
After finding this out, RTV6 reached out to DPW. They now plan to add two new 25-mile-per-hour school zone signs along Holt Road by the end of next week.
Signs this mom hopes will catch the attention of speeding drivers.
"To make awareness," Mitchell said. "To have drivers slow down; to make the city see we need these signs right here at these intersections because it is a bad intersection."
DPW says because there is no direct access for pedestrians or vehicles onto school property from Sam Jones Expressway, they do not support reducing the speed there with a school zone sign. The department says due to the volume and rate of traffic, reducing speed would create additional problems.
Read DPW's responses to RTV6's questions in full, below:
How does DPW decide where school zone signs are placed?
School Zone sign placement is determined by analysis of the request by the Engineering Division of the Department of Public Works. These requests can come from a variety of different outlets (MAC, Councilor, direct citizen contact, etc…) Roadway geometry, roadway classification, speed limit, traffic volumes and the location of the school are all criteria that are used in determining when and where school zones are established.
Is there consideration to add signs on Sam Jones Expressway and Holt Road near Stout Field Elementary School?
DPW has evaluated the request to add reduced speed limit school zone signage along both Holt Road and Sam Jones Expressway and have work orders to install two “25 mph School Zone” signs along Holt Road for both northbound and southbound traffic by the end of next week.
The sign for southbound traffic will be installed approximately 80 feet south of Sam Jones Expressway while the sign for northbound traffic will be installed near the intersection of Holt Road and Ironton St. There are plans to upgrade the signage along Holt Road to flashing beacons by the end of this year/early 2020 once the project contract is completed and it goes out for bid.
If there is no consideration, why not?
Because there are no direct access points for pedestrians or vehicles onto school property from Sam Jones Expressway, DPW does not support reducing speed there with a school zone sign. Due to the volume and speed of traffic on the Expressway, reducing the speed limit in that location would create additional challenges.
This concerned parent is not sure how to go about getting the attention of the city to add signs here. What is the best way she can bring this to the city’s attention?
Residents are encouraged to reach out to the city by any means, including through their Councilor, direct citizen contact or by using the Mayor’s Action Center. However, it’s recommended they use the MAC to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure requests are adequately tracked.