LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Earlier this month, a 5-year-old boy was hit and killed while heading to school outside a designated drop off zone at Somerset Academy Losee Campus in North Las Vegas. This week, its sister school, Somerset Academy Lone Mountain is changing its traffic procedures to ensure kids get to and from school safely.
The Lone Mountain school is located near North Rainbow Boulevard and West Craig Road, a busy and at times, dangerous area. As of Tuesday, Oct. 17, the school announced it is increasing staff and blocking off the church lot entrances off Rainbow Boulevard.
Tianna, who did not want to share her last name, is a mom to a first grader and explained to 8 News Now how people drive fast through the area, despite it being a school zone.
“People will drive really fast until they see the crossing guards or notice the lights flashing,” Tianna said. “But kids still walk that way.”
She was glad to see safety measures for kids following the tragedy at the Losee campus. She said her niece attends that campus and recalled the dangerous lot.
“I think people should start being more mindful when it comes to where kids are,” Tianna said. “A little kid losing their life is unpredictable, unimaginable.”
As for her own routine at Lone Mountain, Tianna either arrives early for the car line or parks in approved areas like the nearby church parking lot and walks with her son.
In a letter to parents, Somerset Academy Lone Mountain campus Principal Cesar Tiu said parents using the church lot must be parked and not drop off their children on Rainbow Boulevard.
“No amount of convenience or busy schedules are worth jeopardizing the safety of a student,” Tiu said.
Following the tragedy at the Losee campus, Erin Breen, the director of UNLV’s Road Equity Alliance Project, urged parents to use designated school lots and car lines.
“What I have been told is it takes too long. What is ‘too long’ when it involves children?” Breen said. “Three days after a child lost their life, all those parents lined up to do the exact same thing.”
Breen said crosswalks are needed to avoid pedestrians crossing where they shouldn’t.
“We teach pedestrians to be unpredictable, and any road user that is unpredictable is unsafe,” Breen said.
Breen also said school zone rules are necessary, and that pedestrians are 90% more likely to survive being hit at 15 miles per hour.
“Slower speeds change the outcome,” Breen said.
Recent numbers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department showed that nearly 560 pedestrians have been hit in their jurisdiction so far this year. In 2022, the total number was 610.
UNLV’s Road Equity Alliance Project’s website also has several resources related to pedestrian safety and contact information.