by A.C. Hall
The White Settlement Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to make the portion of Odie Street that runs by Liberty Elementary a one way street from 6:45 – 7:45 a.m. and from 1:45 – 3:45 p.m. on school days. This was in an effort to reduce traffic congestion as parents drop off their kids and pick them up at Liberty.
The need for this change comes in large part due to changes in the White Settlement Independent School District boundaries that will see more students coming to Liberty. White Settlement Police Department Chief J.P. Bevering touched upon this as he addressed the council.
“The traffic flow was problematic last year to say the least, and with an influx of more students and more vehicles it’s going to be an even greater issue,” Chief Bevering said.
He went on to add that he’s worked with the school district on a fix and they feel changing Odie to one way is a way to help with the traffic issues around that school. The change is set to go into effect immediately, with officers from the city and the school district on hand to help ease people into the new traffic pattern. Council member Elzie Clements voiced his hope that drivers would be given a grace period to get used to the change before tickets start being handed out.
Council member Mike Arnold also spoke about the change to one way.
“I don’t like the idea of a one way,” Arnold said.
He said he feels the district needs to look at adding a road that cuts through the school grounds. Assistant Superintendent David Bitters was on hand and addressed this, saying he agrees and that they are looking to address that in the coming years. Bitters said the change to one way is a first step towards alleviating traffic concerns around Liberty as they move towards larger solutions in the future.
With school starting early next week, council member Danny Anderson brought up the issue of getting all the new signs installed quickly.
“This is not gonna be in place by then,” Anderson said of all the new signage.
He was told that the city has some of the needed signs already, and they will work to get all the rest installed quickly. Bitters said the district will start using its avenues of communication to get the word out on the change to the traffic flow.