LANCASTER, S.C. — Safety is always top of mind for parents and students at the start of a new school year.
The concern is even greater in Lancaster County, where the sidewalk for the district's new school, Van Wyck Elementary, is too close for comfort for some parents.
"Everybody's in a hurry, everybody's got places they need to be," said Carla Horton, who travels along Charlotte Highway in Lancaster daily. She says it's not uncommon to see people ignoring the speed limit.
"If the speed limit is 55, it's human nature you're going to push it a little bit," Horton said.
She thinks that little push could mean the difference between safety and danger for hundreds of students because the new school sits right in front of the highway. The sidewalk is just three feet from the road.
"There's always potential for them to get hit," Horton said.
Bryan Vaughn, director of safety for Lancaster Schools, said the sidewalk was put there by legislation.
"The sidewalk was placed there because there's a county ordinance that says when you build construction on 521 now, you have to build sidewalk access in," Vaughn said. "There isn't any pedestrian traffic because of the location of the school."
Van Wyck Elementary is about a 10-minute drive from Indian Land. Currently, there are no homes or stores surrounding the school, but that is expected to change in the near future. Vaughn said the district is aware of the potential foot traffic, so that's where newly installed speed limit signs come into play.
"The flashing sign that is 35, that's a morning and afternoon zone," he said. "That's permanent, that's forever."
The district has also hired two deputies to direct traffic in the morning and afternoon. The district says safety is their number one priority and they're willing to answer any concerns from parents.