By Tamas Mondovics

The start of each school year means increased traffic on the roadways as well as the time for all to be vigilant when it comes to safety.

More than 100,000 children in Hillsborough County who are transported by their parents or walk to school present its own safety challenges; prompting the necessity to be mindful of local laws using common sense and to show mutual respect for life and property within their given school zone.

Problems can arise just about anywhere, but some residents in the Boyette Springs community, adjacent to the recently opened Bell Creek Academy Charter School on Boyette Rd. in Riverview, hope to see some improvement in the way many parents behave during their children’s drop-off and pick-up times.

“Many are parking or dropping off their kids in front of our house since the first day of school,” said Boyette Springs resident, Amber Fernandes, who lives one block away from the school.

Fernandes emphasized that the students aren’t always aware of their surroundings and could easily be hit by a car. “This is a major safety concern on top of just the inconvenience as cars block driveways and drivers get upset when asked to move,” said Fernandes, whose mailbox was also hit by a car that backed up in to her driveway while picking up a student.

In hopes of solving the problem, Fernandes and her neighbors began working with the Boyette Springs HOA, the independent tax district representative and a Charter School Association (CSA) official representing Bell Creek Academy.

“Currently, they are working on having “No Parking” signs placed down Deepbrook,” Fernandes said.

Charter School Associates Director of Business Development, Jeremy Calkins, agreed and said that the safety concern is real and must be addressed.

“We want to be a good neighbor,” Calkins said. “We are supporting the community and will continue to work with residents and do whatever we can to address this problem.”

Calkins said that following a meeting with several Boyette Springs residents in October, CSA has met with Hillsborough County, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, as well as sent letters to parents asking them to use the school’s vehicle drop-off and pick-up process.

“I have personally spoken to many of the drivers that were parking on Deepbrook Dr. as they were picking up their children,” Calkins said.

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