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One-way streets to make Emerson Elementary School safer

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Aug 15 2013 07:19:00 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

If you drove around Emerson Elementary School in Butte on Thursday, you may have gotten a little turned around. That's because two of the roads around the school were turned into one-way streets.

"We're just doing it trying to keep your kids safe," said Council Commissioner and school bus driver Bud Walker.

"It gets pretty hectic around here at 2 and 3 o'clock and 8:30 in the morning," Walker explained. "We're trying to get traffic flowing one way so these kids only have to see one direction, and have half as many cars coming at them."

Outside of Emerson Elementary School, Phillips Avenue is a one-way street, and the corner of Marcia and Phillips is now a three-way stop. Advocates of this change said this will make kids safer, and dropping your children off at school, a little less chaotic.

Principal Evonne Holman said, "we have had a problem with pick up and drop off. We've had a couple accidents that have involved the children."

We asked Holman what "accidents" she was talking about.

"We had two students that were hit by buses and they were knocked down," Holman said, "and they weren't scraped or anything but the trauma for the children and the person who hit them and to us, it is too much."

Holman, concerned parents, Butte-Silver Bow, and a program called Safe Routes to Schools teamed up to make this project happen.

They've been working on it for more than six months.

Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator Gina Evans said, "I was hit and run by a truck by Hillcrest School. I thought, 'this is wrong.' I was born here. You should be able to get from neighborhood to neighborhood without being worried about being hit."

After she was hit, Evans knew something had to be done, so she started raising money to make the streets safer around schools.

Christal Smith is a parent who helped Gina with the project.

"I understand what the parents go through dropping their children off," she said. "It's chaos because everyone is dropping them off at the same time."

The group said although the changes might seem inconvenient and will take time to get used to, the new flow of traffic is for the best.

The new changes went into effect yesterday afternoon. Phillips Avenue is now a one-way going north between Marcia and Cobban Streets, and Garrison Avenue is a one-way going south.