Three years ago, Theresa Redicker and her husband moved to Brownstown to be in a better, safer environment to raise their kids.

Choosing a house near three schools was convenient because she could walk her children to and from school.

But with motorists driving fast down North Elm Street in front of her home and parking along the street, Redicker said she doesn’t feel safe walking the block-and-a-half to take her oldest child to and from school.

She recently shared that concern with the Brownstown Town Council and brought up three requests: a stronger police presence in the area, requiring all students to park in the school parking lot instead of the street and adding sidewalks along the street.

“We were very happy to live so close to be able to walk to school every day,” said Redicker, whose oldest daughter attends St. Peter’s Lutheran Preschool. That area also contains Lutheran Central School and Brownstown Central High School.

“It was great until about three or four weeks after school started when kids started coming in later and more and more kids started parking on the street,” she said.

Recently, as she was about to walk her daughter to school, she said a motorist came speeding down Elm Street, did a U-turn at the end of the street and parked along the street.

Council member Bethany Brewster said she also lives in the area and recently saw a motorist leaving the school driving fast, and the vehicle’s wheels were spinning across the road and the car was fishtailing down the street. At that time, she was outside with her children.

More vehicles parking along the street means Redicker and her daughter have to walk between and around more than a dozen cars lining both sides of the street.

“Two lanes of traffic coming to and from school is a little bit nerve-racking,” Redicker said.

“There’s no route that I can really take that would allow me to use anything other than the street to walk to school. It’s just a matter of safety for myself, my kids and other parents or students.”

Redicker said she would like the area around the schools more closely monitored and enforced, especially during arrival time for students. The school zone speed limit is 20 mph.

Redicker said she sees police at the high school after the school day has started. An officer typically makes his rounds starting at the elementary school and then heading to the middle and high schools throughout the day.

Clerk-Treasurer David Willey said two officers usually are on duty at the time students arrive and leave school, and he said having them make more of a presence in the area should be possible.

In terms of parking along Elm Street, Redicker said high school students should be required to park in the school parking lots. She said there are plenty of empty spaces throughout the day in the parking lot across the street from her home.

Brownstown Central High School students who drive to school must have a parking pass and park in a designated spot.

When the school implemented a random-drug testing policy for students this school year, those involved in extracurricular activities and those who drive to school are put into that testing pool, and they must have a parking pass.

To get out of paying for that pass or being entered into the random testing pool, some students have been parking on the street.

Trustee Scott Shade said the school board has been looking into making changes to the policy, requiring all students who drive to school to pay for a parking pass and thus be entered into the testing pool.

As far as sidewalks, the only ones along Elm Street are in front of the Presbyterian church and Lutheran Central School.

Redicker said she realizes money may not be in the town’s budget for more sidewalks, but she feels they would be “a wonderful addition to the area.”

Brewster said she has long been wanting sidewalks along Elm and Bridge streets since so many students walk in the area going to and from school.

“There are kids crawling on those roads, it seems like,” Brewster said. “We really need some sort of sidewalk on Bridge and including Elm just to make it safer.”

Also, during football season, people tailgate along the side of Elm Street with no sidewalks, and kids often can be seen darting back and forth near the road with cars going by fast.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Brewster said.

Council President John Nolting said either the town or school corporation could apply for a Safe Routes to School grant to receive funding for sidewalks.

In recent years, the town had to add sidewalks around town to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

With those in place, it could help land a Safe Routes to School grant, Nolting said.

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