Officials with the Wharton Police Department took the proactive approach of asking city leaders to take action and designate a portion of Boling Highway a school zone, following the construction that had taken place at one of the Wharton Independent School District’s campuses.
A Thursday, March 12 letter from Police Chief Terry Lynch to City Manager Andres Garza explained that one of his officers asked that as a result of newly implemented entrances at Sivells Elementary School, it warranted school zone consideration.
“I reached out to Wharton ISD Police Chief Landy Williams to coordinate with the school district,” Lynch said.
Williams agreed that something should be done.
Williams said having prior knowledge of the traffic flow on FM 1301 during morning and afternoon hours, this request would address both the traffic safety and efficiency problems around the proposed school zone.
“The increased presence of personal vehicles in the area of John Knox Road and FM 1301, the current (40 mph) speed limit on FM 1301 during arrival and dismissal times will cause a significant impact on the safety and congestion of the FM 1301 thoroughfare,” Williams said.
Williams feels that more vehicles lead to more potential pedestrian-vehicle “conflicts” and a more complicated and inefficient traffic flow pattern.
Added Williams: “This request is to reduce the speed limit to 20 mph, during drop off and pick up times, at the traffic points designated by the Texas Department of Transportation.”
Lynch relayed the same message to the Wharton City Council during a regular Monday, March 24 meeting. Elected officials unanimously approved the item.
The proposal council agreed on was to designate the 700-900 blocks of East Boling Highway as a school zone with a 20 mph speed limit for the time periods of 7-8 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. on days school is in session.
Lynch said due to East Boling Hwy. being designated Farm-to-Market 1301, the Texas Department of Transportation would need to be consulted for approval.