Barbara McPheeters says everyone was asking why traffic kept flying by on Rockwell Avenue after the new Spring Creek Elementary School opened north of 150th Street.
Now, the children are a little safer.
Oklahoma City installed temporary school zone signs Wednesday, warning motorists to slow down near the school, at 15400 N Rockwell Ave.
“That should have been done when this school opened,” said McPheeters, who was waiting to pick up her grandson, a first-grader.
With her was her granddaughter, who is in pre-K.
Behind her, a construction trailer sat at the edge of the parking lot. Workers were preparing to sod the front lawn and finishing other work on the new building, which opened Aug. 15.
Deer Creek schools asked for the school zone in a July 25 letter, 21 days before classes began. The Oklahoma City Traffic and Transportation Commission approved the request at its next meeting, on Aug. 19.
Rockwell is two lanes and 22 feet wide without shoulders or curbs in front of the school.
The speed limit is 55 miles per hour.
Cement trucks and dump trucks rush by, turning in and out of nearby housing additions that are under construction.
In a memo recommending the school zone be established, the Traffic Commission's staff said some children whose families move into the developing neighborhoods west of Spring Creek will cross Rockwell to get to school.
The school zone speed limit is 25 mph.
As parents arrived for dismissal Wednesday — about an hour after the signs were installed — it was evident the warning signs were having the desired effect. A police car parked in front of the school reinforced the message.
McPheeters said the school zone was addressed at a parents' meeting last week.
“If our children are so important, why do we have to put pressure on someone?” she said.
In its back-to-school-night update, the school told parents the safety zone had been approved and said, “You are welcome to call the city and share with them that this is an urgent matter that needs to be taken care of quickly.”
Ward 8 City Councilman Pat Ryan said he received one email about the school zone, before the Traffic Commission meeting. Nine days from approval to installation is “a pretty good turnaround,” he said.
Permanent signs, with flashing yellow lights, are to be installed by the end of September, said Kristy Yager, a spokeswoman for Oklahoma City.
The Public Works Department will build the signs from parts it has in stock.
Yager said federal funds are used to purchase most school zone warning signs in Oklahoma City.
A new flasher costs about $4,000, she said.