Parents concerned about safety at Lowell Elementary intersection

Parents concerned about safety at Lowell Elementary intersection

Parents of students at Lowell Elementary are concerned about safety at the school's intersection after a school bus crash yesterday.

Parents of students attending Lowell Elementary are concerned about safety at the school’s intersection after a school bus crash Wednesday. Many drivers on Rice Lake Road drive 45 mph, which parents see as unsafe picking up or dropping off kids.

Justin Meinhold, says he and many other parents are concerned about the safety. He says dropping his child off feels dangerous with speeding cars coming over the hill on Rice Lake Road.

“My kids in first grade, so it’s been two years that I’ve been doing the drop off,” Meinhold said. “So there’s not a lot of room for error if someone does swerve or if there’s anything that goes wrong. Especially coming around that turn at the top of the hill. Everyone’s going 45mph-50mph, and winter time is even worse.”

Meinhold also says students at Lowell Elementary even wrote a petition showing St. Louis County how there needs to be some safety measures implemented for parents picking up kids.

“I just don’t see the harm of putting up some signs that have them slow down, during drop off and pick up. I think that would greatly reduce the risk of a major accident,” Meinhold said. “It’s sad that it had to take a short school bus with kids and adults getting hit, to get this more attention.”

St. Louis County did release a statement regarding the bus accident yesterday responding to parents’ concerns. “We certainly understand the concerns of Lowell School parents and others who travel on Rice Lake Road. We extend our best wishes for a quick recovery to those injured in yesterday’s crash involving a school bus.”

St. Louis County’s statement continued saying they conducted traffic safety studies along Rice Lake Road. “These studies have confirmed the posted speed limit (45 mph) and the sight lines at the entrance to the school are appropriate. We’ve added turn lanes in both directions for motorists traveling to the school. We recently reconfigured the space to allow two turn lanes exiting (one for right turns and one for left turns) from the school.”

St. Louis County also says they are engaging with Duluth Public Schools and the City of Duluth to improve safety. “Still, we recognize the congestion that occurs during school drop off and pick up times. Even prior to yesterday’s accident, we have been engaged in discussions with Duluth Public Schools and the City of Duluth to identify other solutions to ease congestion and address safety in this neighborhood. The safety of students, school staff and community members is a top shared priority. We encourage all drivers to use extra vigilance when traveling near schools when students and extra traffic are present.”

WDIO News did reach out to Voyageur Bus company for comment but did not respond as of news time. Duluth Police Department released a statement saying the bus driver was issued a citation for failure to yield right-of-way.

For more information about how you can report a road deemed unsafe you can read more here. Also for other stories happening in Duluth you can read more here.