9News Investigators: School Danger Zone

9News Investigators: School Danger Zone

ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - Rollins Place Elementary in Zachary is home to about 850 1st and 2nd graders. At 3:40 in the afternoon, those children are released from school, and as their parents wait in the carpool line to pick them up, because there is not enough space on school property, the line of cars spills out onto Rollins Place.

"We have to line up. There's no other place we can go. We have to line up on the street to get the kids," said Jessica Easley, whose children go to Rollins Place Elementary.

"When buses and other things are trying to come through, there's not enough road space for that many vehicles trying to come through," said another parent Amy Massingill.

Rollins Place is only a two lane roadway with one lane in each direction. As the line builds up and cars get one behind another, they end up taking up some of one of the lanes. There's also a bridge with no shoulder on either side. When trying to pass up nearly 30 cars, drivers will be straddled in between both lanes and just before they get to the bridge, it's difficult to see what's coming ahead, which is why there are solid yellow lines on the roadway.

"Two double yellow lines means you can't pass," said Zachary Police Chief David McDavid.

Chief McDavid said solid yellow lines are for the driver's safety because passing in the area can cause an accident.

"It is dangerous but I honestly don't think there's another way around that besides going another way," said Easley.

Parents said another danger is when they turn off the roadway and into the school parking lot itself and nearly hit cars driven by others who are trying to skip the line.

"Actually, I've almost been hit twice," said Massingill.

Chief McDavid said if cars pass in a no passing zone, they are pulled over and ticketed, but what about on Rollins Place?

"I don't know what the answer to that is yet," said Chief McDavid.

He said drivers are forced to cross over the solid yellow lines in order to pass up all the parents.

"It's a problem that we're trying to work out and make sure it don't create further problems," said Chief McDavid. "That's why we're over there right now to make sure we don't have any accidents."

The 9News Investigators took the parents concerns to the Zachary Superintendent Scott Devillier.

"We do know it's a safety issue," said Devillier.

Devillier said ever since the school opened two years ago in Jan. 2013, they have had a carpool problem.

"When we first opened up, we felt like we had enough room. The roads coming into the school, were a double driveway so we can double up the cars, and as the school grew over the past few years, we had a few more cars get in line," said Devillier.

Zachary's Department of Public Works Director Chris Davezac said the roadway was build in 2004, which was years before the school was built. He said the city is now looking into fixing the problem.

"We've looked at it with the engineering firm, to look at putting a turn lane in potentially and to do that, because we only have so much right of way, we're going to have to pipe some of those ditches to make it happen, but right now, funds just are not available," said Davezac.

Even when the city has money, Davezac said they may need some help. So would the school system pitch it?

"Right now, there's not a whole lot of funding to partner with anyone for widening the road, but if those things come available, we have done that in the past and would definitely consider," said Devillier.

In the meantime though, parents have to continue waiting in line to pick up their kids, and if something isn't done soon, Chief McDavid said his officers may be out there for a reason other than directing traffic.

"Eventually we're going to have to start writing tickets in there," said Chief McDavid.

Devillier said they encourage parents to let their children ride the bus home to alleviate the long carpool line, but several parents said they prefer to pick up their children themselves.

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