WEST HAVEN -- A safety issue has parents of students attending Quest Academy charter school concerned.
There is no bus service to the school located at 4862 West 4000 South on SR 37. The school building is on the north side of the road facing 4000 South, which has a posted speed limit of 40 mph.
That road is also scheduled for reconstruction starting in 2016.
Currently, there are no crosswalks, no school speed zone sings, no school signals, and no sidewalks except on the school property.
Cpl. Tyler Greenhalgh of the Weber County Sheriff's Office, who has a son enrolled at the school, said he is very concerned about the safety issues.
"My initial concern was with parents parking along the south side of 4000 South and then playing 'frogger' with their kids as they run across the 40 mph road," Greenhalgh said, adding that many of the kids have to walk to school on the shoulder of the road with that speed limit. "It's just an accident waiting to happen."
Greenhalgh said he has been talking with the school administration, UDOT and West Haven City since the beginning of the school year. Everyone recognizes the problem, but it seems at every turn there is a road block of bureaucracy, he said.
The number of vehicles picking up and dropping off students has increased substantially since school expanded from an elementary school to now include a junior high school.
Principal Dave Bullock said that out of their student body of 952 children, more than 60 walk to school each day. He said those parents who want their children to walk to school have to sign a waiver releasing the school of any liability should there be an accident.
Those children who live on the south side of 4000 South must cross the highway to get to the north side. There is a traffic light at 4700 West and 4000 South where the children can cross. However, they then must walk a 1/4-mile on the shoulder of the road to the school.
Bullock said he has been trying to work with UDOT to put in place a 20 mph speed zone in front of the school but has had no results.
Vic Saunders, UDOT Region One spokesman, said UDOT's primary concern is the safety of children, but it is bound by state laws.
"The school has contacted UDOT on several occasions about getting a reduced speed zone and we have given them the information they need to comply with state law, but we have not received back the information from the school that we require," Saunders said.
Bullock said the required information has been submitted and he is frustrated since it just seems nothing can get done.
"We are fighting for a school zone and cross walk in front of the school or at least a walkway several feet off of the edge of the road from the school to 4700 West which would allow students who do walk to be a safer distance from traffic," Bullock said.
Bullock said he submitted an email to the city public works director Scott Venstra, asking for assistance in "looking out for the safety of the youth in this area."
Venstra presented the issue to the city council at a recent work session. He said if approved by the city council a pathway would cost about $3,500. The council said they are not in favor of doing this but are willing to take another look at it since they are concerned for the children.
The city's position is when plans for the school were presented to them several years ago, the city was assured there would be no problem securing the safety of the students.
Jennifer Jones, a member of the Parents of Quest Academy, said that a "Children's Safety Plan" committee has been formed and will work to set goals such as establishing a safe route, obtaining speed zones and flashing lights to alert vehicles.
"I am not interested in waiting around for the red-tap factory to finish fighting about who should do what. My biggest concern and goal is the safety of the children and I am willing to entertain any plausible ideas to resolve this problem quickly, no matter how out-of-the box they may be," Jones said.