APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — Parents at a Twin Cities middle school are pleading for changes to a crosswalk before a child gets hurt or killed.
Mike Lueck, a father who lives across the street from Valley Middle School of STEM in Apple Valley, has caught some close calls on his home security camera.READ MORE: 'We Don't Have To Do It': Mask Mandate Confusion Abound In Twin Cities
“We’re just lucky no one’s gotten hit so far,” said Rob Brustad, whose children used to go to Valley. Brustad also lives across the street.
The crosswalk has become such a danger that it’s been deemed necessary to have a school staff member and an Apple Valley police officer there to help students at the end of the day.
The line of cars in the turn lane waiting to pick up children creates a blind spot for kids trying to cross the street, so they can’t see vehicles coming in the left lane, and those vehicles can’t see the children either.
Lueck’s camera caught a car hitting the brakes to avoid crashing into a child on a bike.
“The drivers are driving through as they would and they don’t see anybody really crossing, so they go through the intersection and lo and behold, there’s somebody right behind the hood of that car,” he said.
Lueck’s daughter goes to Valley and another daughter who will start there next year.
The crosswalk has flashing lights activated by a push button. The city says the flashers work, and drivers will stop and yield to someone crossing.
But Lueck’s videos show multiple cars driving through the crosswalk even when the lights are on.READ MORE: Police Reform A Major Sticking Point As Legislative Session Nears Its End
On Monday, in a span of about 10 minutes, WCCO was there as the officer on patrol pulled over two vehicles that didn’t stop for the lights.
“It’s crazy,” Brustad said. “Having the police here, [WCCO] here, and they’re still blowing through the light with the flashers going. It’s a daily occurrence.”
Valley’s principal, Dave McKeag, says the budget isn’t there to hire a crossing guard, but they’re educating the kids about pushing the button.
It would be up to the city to put in a stop sign but Matt Saam, Apple Valley’s public works director, says the city believes it’s not warranted.
Brustad and more than 100 of his neighbors disagree. They signed Lueck’s petition to install a stop sign at the intersection.
“I couldn’t fathom the idea of having the videos in my possession and telling the parents, ‘Here it is, I knew this was happening,’ and not trying to make a change,” Lueck said. “This is the change I’m trying to make.”
A school staff member will be there to help every day the rest of the school year. Police say an officer will be there for at least the next week.
Saam said in a statement:
The City is aware of the concerns at this pedestrian crosswalk. The unexpected increase in traffic volume for student pick-up has caused a back-up of cars that extends beyond the crosswalk on the public street, presenting pedestrian visibility challenges for drivers. The City is currently working with the school to increase student education on the proper use of the crosswalk and will also step up police enforcement efforts to help educate motorists through the school year.MORE NEWS: Minnesota Weather: 80-Degree High Expected Monday; Summery And Damp Week Ahead
He also said the city will work with the school “to evaluate this intersection further when we have consistent long-term traffic patterns to evaluate.”