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Editorial: District has clear path to establish school zone at Montessori campus

Nov. 25, 2017 at 10:37 p.m.

Here, finally, is a problem we can solve.

So often we write about the most

challenging issues of the day, those we have little idea how to approach or that we know would cost an exorbitant amount of money to correct.

Not this time.

There is an easy and quick fix to the problem of having no reduced-speed school zone around the new East Texas Montessori Prep Academy, which is situated at the intersection of two busy Longview streets: Marshall Avenue and Eastman Road.

For the moment it does not matter where the fault lies for the slip in planning and execution around the new campus, just that little more delay is needed before establishing the zone, which will then be enforced by city police officers.

The Texas Department of Transportation says the school zones are not needed because there are few pedestrians going to and from the school, which provides Montessori-based pre-K, kindergarten and Head Start programs. That determination means the state won't establish and maintain those zones.

We disagree with that ruling, but the good news is all that must now be done is for Longview ISD to take that action. It just takes a vote of the board to move forward. There will be some cost for signage and such, but that is minor.

It is important the action be taken, though. The state says it will not make the designation and the city cannot. The only way is for the school board to take action.

School officials say their attempts to establish the school zone have been delayed because they are not getting the assistance needed from the state and city. The city also believes a school zone is not needed, but officials there have plainly said they would follow the school district's wishes.

That gives Longview ISD a clear path, one that should be taken without further delay.

If there is some confusion on this point, it could come from earlier statements from district officials who said speed zone reductions would not be necessary because few pedestrians were foreseen — the same rationale that was used by state transportation officials.

For the record, we believe every campus needs a school zone. Even if no pedestrians were expected, increased traffic is a certainty, and that is reason enough to slow traffic and increase safety during student drop-off and pickup hours. This would be especially true at the intersection of Marshall and Eastman — which also are known as highways U.S. 80 and U.S. 259.

This is an oversight that can easily be corrected. It should be done without further delay.



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