Parking prohibited during school hours

Lehman High School students trying to beat the crowds to leave campus at the end of the school day may need to find new parking spots after Kyle approved new no-parking signs in the neighborhood just northeast of campus.

Tuesday, residents of the South Lake Ranch subdivision turned out for the Kyle City Council meeting to appeal for a solution to the influx of teenagers parking there each school day, a problem they say creates safety issues in their neighborhood.

Based on input from South Lake Ranch residents, council voted unanimously to erect signs that prohibit street parking during school hours on five streets in the subdivision: Lake Washington Drive, Granite Shoals Drive, Sapphire Lake Drive, Town Lake Bend and Onyx Lake Drive. Because there were no ‘nay’ votes, the item passed on the first reading and will not have to come back for a second reading.

“I think it’s a long time coming,” South Lake Ranch resident Brandy Heindel said. “It’s been on the agenda and off the agenda I don’t know how many times. (Residents) may come back to get the ordinance changed, but now at least we have the council involved.”

South Lake Ranch, located across Bunton Creek Road from Lehman High, is a popular off-campus parking spot for students. The inability to afford the on-campus school parking pass and lack of vehicle registration and valid drivers licenses are often cited reasons. It is also thought that traffic congestion at the end of school day is so bad, it actually saves time for a student to walk all the way to the subdivision and drive their car home from there, Heindel said.

However, teenagers speeding down the neighborhood streets and the crowding from parking creates safety hazards for residents and their children, she said. There are multiple children in the neighborhood with special needs who have trouble catching their bus to school because of the student vehicles, Heindel said.

“The school district has to get involved. We’ve taken it out of the city’s hands, and we’re trying to get it back into the school district’s hands,” she said.  “We’re a nice community. This isn’t against our students, this is for the safety of our neighborhood.”

Mayor Travis Mitchell expressed concerns about residents in the subdivision who have multiple cars and will miss the street parking, saying the ordinance is  “treating the symptom and not the real problem.”

South Lake Ranch falls under District 6, Council Member Daphne Tenorio’s district. Tenorio helped come up with the ordinance with the help of residents, and said the neighbors will continue to be active, once the signs are up, to make sure the parking situation is improved. The ordinance can always be amended in the future, she said.

“This is something to sort of give us a stepping stone to get it ready. We’re doing it early enough that they will be up when school starts,” Tenorio said. “It’s a good starting step.”

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