Ongoing construction on San Pablo Road causes parents to grow concerned for children’s safety

Ongoing construction on San Pablo Road has parents growing concerned about their children’s safety because of the dangers they face in getting their kids to and from school each day.

Although the construction — which is west of the Intercoastal Waterway and south of Atlantic Boulevard near Alimacani Elementary School and River City Science Academy — has been going on for months, parents said the removal of the sidewalk and the creation of a temporary makeshift sidewalk closer to the road is more recent.

Mallory Behenna is one of those concerned parents. All three of her kids walk to school right down the road, and she said it seems like the new phase of the construction came out of nowhere.

“All the construction has moved to being right in front of our elementary school. So there were some kids like when they went to school one morning and riding their bikes and walking with their parents, they got out of school that afternoon, and their sidewalks were gone. And the school had no heads up, no way to warn the parents that this is going to happen,” Behenna said.

Behenna wants the children’s safety to be a priority as crews work to improve the road.

“Walking two kids to and from school in a construction zone is really quite a challenge,” she said. “Now we don’t even have sidewalks to use, so I just want our kids to be safe and not have their learning interrupted because of traffic keeping them from getting to and from school.”

Behenna isn’t the only parent with concerns. Jenny Ramsdale said the construction in the area adds to the chaos of trying to get kids to and from the schools in the area, and the makeshift sidewalk doesn’t help.

“It’s just a small little barrier. And then you are right next to cars that are trying to get down the road. That doesn’t seem very safe. When I’m walking into school cars are just coming by and it doesn’t feel safe at all. And the construction vehicles, they’re doing their thing,” Ramsdale said.

Ramsdale hopes that the construction can move to a different time of day.

“I feel maybe bringing the construction back at night time is a possibility. So there’s not the active construction zone going on where we’re trying to cross the street,” Ramsdale said.

Jessica Hanson has also expressed concerns about the dangers surrounding the construction changes, prompting Hanson to make calls to several people to try and mitigate the problem.

“I did get in touch with someone that’s in charge, maybe a project manager. She seemed like she was listening to my concern. She did call me back saying that they were going to have more flaggers and spotters out here,” Hanson said.

News4JAX reached out to Councilman Rory Diamond’s office to see if they were aware of the problem. The office said they have been in contact with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, who said they would investigate and respond with any action.

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