CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (KCRG-TV9)-- The city of Cedar Rapids says their goal is to have the roundabout being built in front of Hoover Elementary on Johnson Avenue finished before school starts in less than two weeks.
Paving for Progress Program Manager Doug Wilson says they let construction crews know that they want people to have easy access to the school when the year starts.
He says, "They'll (the contractor) lose money if they don't get it on time, so we use that type of process if it don't get done."
Some parents are skeptical that it will be done on time, and will have to see it to believe it. Sarah Weibel has kids that go to Hoover. She says, “There's a lot to be done still.”
Weibel says it's hard enough getting to school through the construction in the summer, and it will get worse if the project misses deadline.
She adds, "You have to enter on Wiley Boulevard, and you leave on Johnson. So if one of those two are still blocked and we're going around, there's just no other way to get to school besides those two entrances."
Kids walking to school will have only one sidewalk to use during sections of their walk. Wilson says, "We're gonna get sidewalks done on one side of Johnson Avenue because we know a lot of the students walk towards the West. So we want to make sure they get that done and they have good connections when they get up to Jacolyn Drive.”
Wilson says safety was the main reason they wanted to build a roundabout at the intersection. He says a roundabout lowers the impact of crashes, and would make it safer for pedestrians.
Laura Booth disagrees. She also has kids at Hoover. Her, and Weibel both fear that the elementary school children will be harder to see for drivers.
There's also a worry that kids won't know what to do when they approach a roundabout. Booth says, “Five-year-olds are short, they're little, they are hard to see. They won't know what to do when they approach a roundabout. I just don't think that it's gonna be a very safe, it’s very nerve wrecking."
Wilson says roundabouts are actually safer than traffic signals. He says "With a roundabout you do shorten that crossing to about fifteen feet, then you have a pedestrian refuge and then another fifteen feet. So it makes it much easier to cross, and you have much less traffic depth to look at. You can look one direction, stop look the other direction."
The city is holding two open houses at Hoover Elementary. The first one will be at August 15th from 5-7pm. The other one will be August 18th from 12-2pm. People will get the opportunity to talk to staff about the roundabout, and drive it so they will be ready for it when the school year starts.