ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- More deputies and flashing lights were outside Orange Park High School following an accident that left a student crossing busy Kingsley Avenue in critical condition on Thursday.
According to Clay County Schools, OPHS is the only one in the district that does not have a safety zone that requires traffic to reduce speed before and after school.
Heather Barnes, 14, was crossing the street after school on Thursday when she was hit by a car that the Florida Highway Patrol said had a green light.
Troopers say the girl was walking between parked vehicles on the street before entering a lane with moving traffic.
Three years ago, Clay County Public Schools made a request of the Florida Department of Transportation to consider a safety zone, according to documents. Nothing materialized from that request.
District officials point out another high school, Ridgeview, just miles away along Blanding Boulevard, has a safety zone that slows down traffic to 25 miles an hour at certain times.
"Oh my God, yes, I pray for my daughter never jay walks," said Martha Marquez, who was waiting to pick up her daughter from OPHS on Friday.
"I pick her up all the time and I see cars zoom," said the concerned mother, who would like to see the speed on Kingsley reduced before and after school. The current speed limit in front on Kingsley is 40 miles an hour.
Jerry Auscher, who is the FDOT director of traffic operations, says traffic planners would revisit conditions if requested. He noted that safety zones are not a requirement for high schools.
In discussing traffic at OPHS on Kingsley, Auscher said two traffic lights close together in front of the school combined with congestion have the effect of slowing traffic down.
Marquez, who sees traffic first hand most days at the school, hopes something changes.
"We need something done," said Marquez.
First Coast News