Victoria trustees talk East, West traffic woes

Johnathan Silver By Johnathan Silver

July 17, 2014 at 2:17 a.m.
Updated July 18, 2014 at 2:18 a.m.

Victoria school district trustees are working with many what-ifs as they hold conversations with the city, county and state officials on improving traffic and safety in and around Victoria East and West.

At their school board meeting Thursday night, trustees discussed where the district stands in its endeavor to alleviate traffic woes and make it safer for students and parents to travel.

The district doesn't have an answer yet but is touting that the major players - the city of Victoria, Victoria County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Department of Transportation - are at the discussion table and actively looking for answers. But for now, trustees are discussing possibilities, acknowledging that they need more information before more concrete changes are made.

District leaders discussed how drivers with a Victoria West destination deal with high-speed traffic and congestion. The high school sits along U.S. Highway 87 and is north of the U.S. Highway 77 frontage road. Along U.S. 87, a traffic and safety concern had been parents pulling over and stopping along the highway to drop off students. The vehicles would then re-enter traffic, which has speeds exceeding 50 miles per hour. To address that problem, the district placed a fence and "no parking" signs along that part of the property.

Now, a what-if the trustees are talking about is creating a second exit that would take drivers off campus via the frontage road south of the school. It is just an idea, though, said Diane Boyett, communications director, who added the district would need a lot of questions answered, especially one about the frontage road's future, as it might become a one-way road, which could imperil that considered approach.

Victoria East also has one major way off campus: Mockingbird Lane. To the east of the campus is Zac Lentz Parkway and Loop 463 frontage road, which Mockingbird turns into. There, pedestrian traffic is more of a concern, as the campus is surrounded by residential properties. To improve safety while crossing and driving on Mockingbird, the city will add a traffic light where Mockingbird, the school's driveway and the entrance into a residential street all meet, giving motorists a cue to pay attention to traffic and people who might be crossing, Boyett said.

The district also is considering another exit from the campus, but that, like the case with Victoria West, will require knowing the future of the frontage road near the campus, which the Texas Department of Transportation controls.

"It's still a work in progress," Boyett said.

One thing for sure is that school starts Aug. 25, and traffic will be drastically different, she added.

"They need to leave for work earlier," she said. "They need to be prepared for delays."

Trustees also want the district and other key players to address speed limits near the two campuses.



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