MINNEOLA, Fla. — Several state and local government agencies have partnered to make safety improvements near Lake Minneola High School in Lake County.
The changes come after a 17-year-old student was hit and killed by a bus near the school’s entrance last month.
Representatives from the Lake County School District, Board of County Commissioners, the City of Minneola, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Department of Transportation met in late October to plan “pop-up” safety education events in high-traffic areas near Education Ave. and Hancock Rd.
The events are meant to help educate students and parents about the steps they can take to remain safe while traveling to and from school.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work collaboratively with the city, county and others to identify ways to improve safety in the area,” Lake County Schools Superintendent Diane Kornegay said in a statement. “Making sure our students have a safe passageway to and from school each day is our collective responsibility, and we look forward to sharing updates with parents, students and others in the community.”
In addition to scheduling the pop-up events, the coalition has already implemented safety improvements that include scheduling the lights at the Minneola Athletic Complex to be on each morning from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. until permanent lighting can be installed.
On Monday, workers completed painting the curbing, trail striping, and yield/stop bars at Hancock Trail and the Lake Minneola High School bus loop intersection.
By Monday, they plan to complete the installation of a new trail stop sign to alert walkers as they approach the bus loop. They also have plans to extend the trail lighting from south of Big Sky Dr. and north to Gatewood Ave.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office will also increase their safety patrols around the bus loop until additional lighting can be installed.
“We want to make sure traveling to and from school is a safe, easy journey for the students, their families, and the school’s staff,” Lake County Office of Parks, and Water Resources Director Roberto Bonilla said. “We’re proud to be working with our partners on these projects for the good of our community.”
The coalition held a meeting Wednesday to discuss other opportunities for improvements within school grounds.
They have plans to complete the installation of in-house safety signs and striping by Nov. 16 that include adding a “next half-mile” plaque below school zone flashers, restriping the bus loop crosswalk, adding “advanced” pedestrian signs at midblock crosswalks, and upgrading all pedestrian signs to yellow and green signs.
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