Tulsa turns down school zone request on Memorial Dr

Tuesday, November 13th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa charter school that fronts Memorial Drive says it needs a school zone to slow down speeding drivers.

The school's principal says at the very least, they need signs to let drivers know a school is there, one that meets inside a church building. So, far the city has turned down both requests. News on Six reporter Lori Fullbright takes a look. Kim Sheldon drops off and picks up her sixth grade son everyday, she says parents and students are at risk everyday because there's no school zone or warning signs to slow down drivers. "A lot of schools are in residential areas and the speed limit is 25. Here it's 35 and on Memorial, it's 40 and they don't go 40, they go 60 down that hill."

As for parents turning into the school's parking lot, they fear getting rear-ended by people coming over that hill, unable to stop quickly. And, students who don't get picked up either walk home or must walk along Memorial to the nearest city bus stop. Principal Birol Furat, Dove Academy: "We have called the city to put up signs for the safety of our parents and children but no reply."

Ron Taylor with City of Tulsa Traffic Engineering told us Dove Academy didn't need a school zone because it has a stop light and that should sufficiently slow down the traffic, but, Patrick Elementary is one of several Tulsa schools we found with both a traffic light and a school zone.

Laureen Gilroy with City of Tulsa Public Works says city workers looked at the school traffic situation during a morning and afternoon and used this criteria, the availability of sidewalks, the number of students who walk, the age levels of the students and how far they must go. That is little comfort to worried parents. Kim Sheldon, "It's not like we're asking them to come out and rebuild our streets, we're just asking for a couple of signs."

Gilroy says the city will likely be able to add a 'walk-don't walk' sign to the stop light and perhaps a sign warning drivers of children ahead. Parents say a hundred dollar sign is a small price to pay to keep a child from getting killed.

Even though the charter school is part of the Tulsa public school system, no bus service is offered to the 260 students. We'll let you know what happens.