Survey reveals Hillsborough parents' fears about kids walking to school

District encouraging carpooling, biking & walking
Posted at 6:37 PM, Apr 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 18:37:06-04

Hillsborough County parents are now revealing what they feel are their kid's biggest barriers in getting to school safely.

In a massive survey involving thousands of parents, Hillsborough County transportation leaders reached out, asking more than 30 questions about student safety walking, biking and driving to school.

Parents said the most commonly reported conditions impacting the student commute are:

  • Vehicles speeding
  • Poor road conditions (e.g., potholes, damaged signs, uneven pavement)
  • Bad lighting

Rosa Santiago is a parent who has three children who attend Mort Elementary in Hillsborough County. She said she often sees cars speeding.

“It’s dangerous," she said. "They don’t have a crossing guard on this one.”

When asked if there were specific locations along the commute where the respondent or student feels unsafe, more than half of respondents answered no.

Among those that did report feeling unsafe in locations along the commute, this was most often due to:

  • Speed of traffic along the route
  • Safety of intersections or crossings
  • Sidewalks or paths along the route

Furthermore, more than two-thirds of respondents indicate that there are no crossing guards along the route to school. Some parents told ABC Action News they feel that's a major cause for concern.

“Nowadays, you never know who is behind the wheel of a vehicle," said Jonathan Hodges, who has a child in elementary school. "They could be intoxicated, anything.”

Hillsborough County Schools is already working to add more bike racks at several schools, improving pick up and drop off queues and working with other agencies to improve sidewalks near some schools.

However, now, as a result of the survey, Hillsborough County School leaders are working to help secure additional funding for road improvements.

The school district is also looking for ways to help encourage parents to carpool. To do so, parents said they would like faster pick up and drop off as well as more notifications about dismissal, pick-ups, emergencies and more.

Hillsborough County Schools is also considering offering schools incentives to encourage walking and biking to school.

View the full survey results, here.