Mayor’s budget allocates funds for lanes at Hendricks Elementary

The future may bring some relief to congestion along San Jose Boulevard during the early morning and afternoon hours when parents routinely drop off and pick up children at Hendricks Avenue Elementary School.

In Mayor Lenny Curry’s proposed capital improvement plan, $100,000 has been slated for the design and engineering of a right-turn “storage” lane along San Jose Boulevard in back of Hendricks Avenue Elementary.

The project, if approved by City Council, will alleviate congestion along the clogged road for residents. It will also improve safety for pedestrians going to and from the school, said James Croft, public communications officer in the Mayor’s office.

“The project will allow non-school traffic to bypass vehicles looking to drop off and pick up students at the school and minimize the amount of traffic in neighborhoods south of the school trying to avoid congestion,” Croft said.

Drainage work and tree removal are anticipated to be included in the project, said Croft.

Last year the proposed Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget figured the total cost for building the lane would be $330,000, said District 5 Councilwoman Lori Boyer.

“This year they are allowing $100,000 for design and the money left over can go to construction,” Boyer said, noting that if the project becomes too expensive it won’t go forward.

Boyer said she has asked for the total budget to be revised to $330,000 if that is the total estimated cost. She said she has also questioned if the change to $100,000 was because Public Works determined the entire project could be completed for that amount and is awaiting an answer from the city.

As of August 21, enrollment at Hendricks Avenue Elementary was 680 children. Of that number approximately 40 students arrive by bus leaving the majority of children to walk, ride bicycles or be driven to school by their parents, said Kate Hurst, secretary to Principal Lacy Healy.

“The bus stopped coming this way because it’s so backed up,” said Maxine Brown, longtime crossing guard on San Jose Boulevard.

The Duval County School Operations department had not received any notification of this budget item as of August 20, said Tia Ford, media spokesperson for Duval County Schools.

Likewise, Healy and her front office staff are also in the dark about the possible change. “We can’t comment because we don’t have any information about it,” said Hurst.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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