Busy road near Cary High prompts safety concerns for some

akenney@newsobserver.comAugust 29, 2013 

ANDREW KENNEY — akenney@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— For many, daily crossings of Walnut Street are a part of life at Cary High School, and a serious collision on the second day of school didn’t change that.

As 17-year-old Islom Juraev remained hospitalized on Wednesday, his fellow students streamed across the crosswalk where he was struck a day earlier.

Some of the teens crossed inside the lines. Some jaywalked across five lanes of traffic.

Megan Huber, 16, stuck to the crosswalks with her friends. She’s been hit twice – once hard – while using pedestrian crossings near the school, she said. And she was watching on Tuesday when a red Volkswagen Jetta collided with Islom in the crosswalk.

“I saw it, and it was shocking,” said Megan, a junior.

The oncoming vehicle seemed to be traveling full speed when it knocked the student from his bicycle, she said. “He hit the windshield and he was on the ground.”

No charges had been filed against the car’s driver as of Wednesday afternoon.

Islom was listed in fair condition at WakeMed in Raleigh.

Rules and safety features

The crosswalks in front of Cary High School have long been a topic of debate in Cary.

The school allows students to cross the road to a nearby pizzeria and gas station during lunch hours, and many students cross the busy road after school.

“It’s just a really bad recipe over there,” said Michelle Muir, a parent of three Cary High School students who has pushed in the past for changes to the area.

It’s not clear how often collisions occur near the school, but Muir said a 2008 incident was among the most recent.

The town of Cary and the N.C. Department of Transportation have steadily added more safety features to the road over recent years, including street lights, high-visibility markings and the mid-block crossing where Islom was struck.

A police officer also was on duty Wednesday afternoon, pulling over driver after driver for speeding. But there apparently was no one to discourage waves of students from jaywalking.

Students’ flouting of traffic laws is the biggest threat to their safety, according to Daniel Wilson, a junior at Cary High.

“There’s nothing much that the town can do – maybe put another crosswalk – but part of the problem is people being idiots,” said Daniel, 16.

Pedestrians properly using the crosswalk have the right of way. But that legal right is no guarantee, according to students.

“I don’t cross unless it’s clear, because I don’t have faith in people,” said Charlie Craichy, 17.

For now, the town of Cary and the DOT aren’t planning any changes to Walnut Street near Cary High School, but the town will examine the area again in response to the recent crash.

“We know it’s a very busy area. We know it’s one of our highest pedestrian crossing areas in town,” said David Spencer, an engineer for the town of Cary. “We’ll look ... to see if something could be done to possibly eliminate this type of crash in the future.”

Kenney: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @KenneyOnCary

Cary News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service