‘Lawlessness’ in front of Leander school creates growing traffic danger

Parent crossing Crystal Falls Parkway to get to Whitestone Elementary School in Leander (KXAN Photo)
Parent crossing Crystal Falls Parkway to get to Whitestone Elementary School in Leander (KXAN Photo)

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — Suzi Simmons says she knows it’s illegal to park in front of Whitestone Elementary School in Leander to pick up her daughter.

“I like to pick her up where she can walk out and see me and this is really the only option,” Simmons says.

Sgt. Ryan Doyle with the Leander Police Department says parents have been parking illegally in front of the school — in a lane of traffic on Crystal Falls Parkway — for as long as he can remember. While it’s creating a traffic hazard now, the police department is looking for a longer-term solution.

“Legally speaking, we could’ve come out here, towed cars and written a bunch of tickets,” Sgt. Doyle said, “but it wouldn’t have solved anything.”

Doyle says a driver may come across a car at a dead stop and, if you’re not paying attention, a crash is possible. Parents can legally park on the north side of Crystal Falls Parkway, but then they have to cross four lanes of traffic to get to the school.

To prevent parents from parking illegally, the city plans to restripe a lane and designate it as a parking-only area. However, that means losing a lane of traffic for about 200 yards in front of the school.

Simmons doesn’t think the traffic hazard is a big deal. “The amount of times that there’s more than one car side by side on this road is not often, it’s not a super busy road.”

Officers just want to make sure drivers understand the upcoming changes, to protect kids and their families. “Please follow the markings and the signs because we can’t continue to have this, for lack of a better word, lawlessness, people doing whatever they want over here, it’s a safety issue,” Sgt. Doyle said.

The city will also be marking designated turn lanes into the school, to help the traffic flow. Parents are not allowed to park in those areas.

The change will be made over Spring Break in mid-March. For more information on the changes, visit the Leander Police Department’s page here. 

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