Residents are sounding off tonight about traffic around an elementary school in Pike County, Illinois. This is happening in Pittsfield, Illinois, and centers around a change last year that makes a truck route pass right by South Elementary.
The road, right in front of South Elementary in Pittsfield, is now a truck route, meaning semi trucks constantly pass through town. The issue came up at the last school board meeting and has residents and staff pushing for a change to keep kids safe.
Semi trucks speed right past South Elementary School all day, every day. That’s because Clarksville Road became a truck route in the spring of 2017, a recent change that is sparking safety concerns.
"There’s a bump right here in front of my driveway and when the big trucks hit it, my house shakes," Pittsfield Resident Bob Lacy said. "So you know they’re not going 25 miles per hour, or 20 miles per hour for the school."
Lacy lives along the road, right across from the school. He watches semi trucks pass through all day and says it’s definitely a safety concern.
"The kids darting in and out of the cars," Lacy said. "It’s not safe with big trucks coming through here."
The superintendent said that they did have these stop signs with flashing lights installed to slow the trucks down. However, with how often trucks drive by, they still need to make a change.
That’s why when the safety concern came up at the last school board meeting, superintendent Paula Hawley said the main issue comes when parents drop off and pick up their children and Pittsfield law enforcement agrees, especially during harvest season.
"I know it’s a busy time right now for agriculture and parents picking up their children," Pike County Deputy Sheriff Jordan Gerard said. "We just ask everybody, not only the ones in agriculture, but the ones in the community too, to both be on high alert for each other."
School board members are pushing the city to reconsider, making Memorial Street the designated route, to ensure kids’ safety.
"I’m glad to hear they’re trying to get this changed."
If the school board is successful in pushing the city to reconsider an alternative truck route, funds set away for a 2019 renovation project for Clarksville Road would be used to upgrade Memorial Street, to make it able to handle 80,000 pound trucks.
Officials with the Pittsfield Police Department say the truck traffic is picking up, as the harvest gets underway. They advise truck drivers and parents to be aware and careful when driving and parking on the road.