Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings is concerned about a growing traffic congestion problem in the school zone near Smithville Elementary.
Chief Jennings, speaking at Monday night's city council meeting, said there is a large number of vehicles each day trying to get to the school on Walker Drive, from East Bryant Street and Congress Boulevard and that these automobiles often block eastbound traffic which could cause accidents.
He asked Mayor Taft Hendrixson to appoint a committee to come up with a plan to address the problem. "We've received some complaints about the traffic at the elementary school. I've been over there for the last couple of weeks in the mornings and afternoons. As you know we widened Walker Drive to accommodate the cars picking up the children in the back of the school. But also, what happens is the vehicles are out on Bryant Street and they go all the way down Bryant Street to Highway 56 and around the corner. Well what happens there is they block the whole eastbound lane of Bryant Street. So when cars are trying to go east, they get over in the westbound lane, and they almost hit head on the cars going west. I've seen them have to drive onto the grass of the church to go around and it's everyday. I think the school zone is actually in the wrong place. There should be lights on Bryant Street and Walker Drive instead of out on Highway 56. That's where I think the school zone should be. I'd like to ask you to form a committee so we could look at this problem and se if we couldn't come up with an answer."
Mayor Hendrixson appointed himself and Chief Jennings to the committee along with Aldermen Jerry Hutchins Sr. and Willie Thomas and Public Works Director Kevin Robinson. The committee will also invite Principal Bill Tanner and Director of Schools Mark Willoughby to join them in the discussions.