A Carver High School student is recovering after a crash in front of the school, causing school officials and parents to voice safety concerns.
Carver High's Principal Gary Hall says the accident shows the dangers student drivers and parents are facing when they come to the school each day because there is no left turn arrow at the light at the main entrance at Oak Street and Fairview Avenue. He says drivers must turn into oncoming traffic to get into the school.
"We can't ensure their safety here turning into this street and ever since Saint Jude closed, they used to have a crossing guard there and if you look at some of the traffic, they barrel down the street," Hall said.
According to Hall, a junior at Carver was turning off of Fairview into the high school parking lot when she was struck by another vehicle, causing a three car accident and a back up in school traffic Wednesday morning. The student was sent to the hospital to get checked out.
The previous night, Hall went before the Montgomery City Council to ask for the turn light to be added. Hall says the school is trying to be proactive after a child was struck by a car and seriously injured last week near Capitol Heights Middle School in Montgomery while crossing the street.
"It's utter confusion with people trying to turn in and you see U-turns and everything else but this right here has been a painful situation and it's kind of amazing that we've only had a couple of accidents but I don't want it to go on any longer. I want something to change," Hall told WSFA Wednesday at a press conference in front to the school.
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange went out to the scene Wednesday with engineers and says there are a number of technical issues at the intersection.
"I was asking the question: 'Why not just put up a left turn signal?' The answer is that we don't have the technical capabilities and capacity to put additional wires in there because there are not enough wires in the dilapidated conduit so you have to put new conduit in, you have to double the number of wires and change out the poles," the mayor said.
It would cost $300,000-400,000 to resignal the intersection because in addition to a control box, conduit needs to be done four ways and standard stanchions need to be put in to carry the additional weight. The stanchions run about $80,000 each.
That work is already part of a $2 million project that's slated to start next year after the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march. The project includes state, federal and city funds. The city is putting in $400,000 into the approved project. Repaving will be done from the interstate to the bypass and the intersection in front of Carver will be getting new signalization. The work would be finished for the 2016 school year, Mayor Strange said at Tuesday night's city council meeting.
Hall says that's too long to wait.
"It's a catastrophe here," he added. "We need to have something before then. We're talking about 2015. We're in school now."
David Burkette, Montgomery City Councilman for District 4 says he called the Montgomery Public Safety Director and other city officials after Wednesday's accident to make them aware of the dangers that continue to loom at the intersection in front of the school.
"We can't wait until next year but then again, we don't need to wait until next year. We need something done immediately. This is a danger all day long," Burkette said.
Parent said they also would like to see changes made sooner than later.
Angie Crosby's daughter was involved in an accident at the intersection last year and she says a turn light is "long overdue."
"Somebody is going to get killed if there's no light for those kids to turn and go up there to make that left turn into Carver, someone is going to be seriously hurt," she said.
Chris Miles saw the crash scene Wednesday as he brought his son to school.
"The city has to do a better job of protecting our kids and especially here. This is dangerous. Something has to be done and as parents, tax paying citizens, we should not have to beg for them to put a light up here. This is not right," he said. "You're telling me that a child or a parent has to get messed up before the city puts light up here? Is that what has to happen?"
The city says there have been four accidents at that intersection so far this year.
Mayor Strange says the city will be doing speed control in front of Carver in an effort to get drivers to slow down.