Ben Reifel Middle School parents happy with district’s plan to keep kids safe

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Some Sioux Falls parents have safety concerns about sending their kids to the new Ben Reifel Middle School on the city’s east side, however it has nothing to do with the school itself, but rather how they get there.

Traffic, speed, and children: rarely are they ever a good combination.

“There’s so much traffic in the morning,” parent Amy Bruner said. “That’s a difficult highway, a scary highway actually.”

“Biggest concern is children crossing multiple lanes of traffic on a highway where there’s a high speed limit,” Suzy Knoff said.

Suzy Knoff is talking about Highway 11 or Veterans Parkway. It’s one of the newly improved thoroufares on the edge of the city.

When the district began building the new Ben Reifel Middle School, these parents realized, because their kids don’t get to ride the bus, there was going to be a problem.

“The safety of my children walking across a 55 mph four lane, plus two turning lane highway,” Bruner said.

Highway 11 was already a busy highway, but it’s going to get even busier now that it connects to Interstate 90 on the north and eventually to Interstate 29 on the south, and that’s a big concern for families who are trying to send their children to the Ben Reifel Middle School.

So they took their concerns to the school district about a month ago to see if something could be done.

Just today, the district released its plan to keep their kids safe.

First and foremost, the district will provide a shuttle bus to pick up students before and after school at 41st and Manifold, which is just west of the highway.

The City will install a flashing lights in that area as well as post speed warning signs with flashing beacons to the north and south that will display 20 minutes before and after school.

It’s a plan these parents are happy to see.

“It makes me feel wonderful,” Knoff said.

“It makes us as parents feel a lot more comfortable that that’s going to be there so our children are not taking the risk,” Bruner said.

A risk they will no longer have to worry about, because the school district listened to their concerns.

“I do want to express my gratitude to the school board to the school district and to the city to anyone who was involved in making that decision,” Bruner said.

The school district says this plan was developed to allow time for the school district and the city to study the new traffic patterns and determine a more-permanent plan for getting students living in the walk area west of Hwy 11 to school safely.

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