In a phone message last Wednesday, Dr. Muttillo cautioned students and parents to drive safely due to recent accidents involving Leesville students. A freshman was hit in one of the accidents, so one would have to question the safety of pedestrians around the Leesville community.
The unknown freshmen was walking to the Powderpuff game on Tuesday evening. While on a crosswalk near the front of the school, a car collided with the student, who received a broken nose and several other minor injuries.
In his phone message, Dr. Muttillo addressed his concern for the hundreds of inexperienced student drivers of the school and Leesville parents. Muttillo said, “I want to take this opportunity to remind all parents and students that among our three campuses we have over 4,000 students in the area.”
Four thousand students means even more parents and every student must commute to and from school every day. With this much activity going on, it is no surprise that someone got hit.
Although many students either take the bus or hitch a ride, there is a small percentage of students willing to walk home. Kids who live in Springdale, West Lake and Kingsland can trek home in under fifteen minutes, but it only takes one second to take a life.
Ian Johnston, junior, said, “It’s terrible to know things like this can happen although I’ve never had it happen to me. I hope the right precautions are taken to prevent further conflicts from happening.”
The biggest problem regarding the safety of pedestrians is the lack of sidewalks and crosswalks around Leesville.
The only crosswalks can be found either around the campus perimeter or crossing the road in front of the school. There are no crosswalks on Leesville Road or Pinecrest Road, two main streets students have to cross to get to major neighborhoods.
Johnston must cross at the intersection of Leesville Road and O’Neal Road in order to walk home. “It’s really hard to get home some days because there is so much traffic coming out from the parking lots onto Leesville. I’m usually stuck a good few minutes on the sidewalk waiting for an opening,” said Johnston.
The difficulty of crossing roads is only further complicated by the broken-up sidewalk system around the community. Of course, there is one long sidewalk around all three campuses, but if one were to walk down Leesville Road toward Lynn Road or down Pinecrest Road, they would be forced to stay on the shoulder.
This fact that there are hardly any sidewalks is problematic for the cross country runners and the wrestling team who occasionally run off campus.
Anthony Strapp, junior, finds it difficult to focus on safety when running on a shoulder. “I’m not gonna try to get hit but it’s kinda hard when you’re a few inches from cars in a pack of six or seven guys,” said Strapp.
After the recent accidents in the front of the school, the administration or the parents may take further action to stop this from happening again. According to the Raleigh Public Record, the City of Raleigh initiated the Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan this past year to make Raleigh more person-friendly.
The $150,000 plan hopes to add sidewalks on both sides of streets, crosswalks on many intersections and redevelop forgotten and unused sidewalks. Since the plan will last until 2030, however, Leesville may not receive the attention it needs for some time.
“I can only hope they get this stuff figured out before someone else gets hurt,” said Strapp.