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N4T Investigators: Traffic from charter school expected to increase, residents are fed up

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N4T Investigators: Traffic from charter school expected to increase, residents are fed up

TUCSON (KVOA) - Tempers are flaring over traffic flow in and out of Leman Academy in Oro Valley.

Residents say they cannot get out of their driveways. And parents with children who walk to school are concerned about safety. Following our News 4 Tucson Investigation in April, the town council met to discuss the issue. 

According to a report, obtained by the Investigators and compiled by town staff, the number of students attending Leman Academy will increase by double digits next semester.

More students, mean more traffic on residential streets off La Cañada Drive and North Placita el Cabo.

Homeowners like Sarah McGowan are not happy.

"This was intended as a residential road, not a utility road which it has become," said McGowan. "What if someone has a heart attack and the EMTs can't get in?"

But according to a town engineer and three officers in attendance at Wednesday's meeting, the current traffic pattern is working. No changes will be made.

A town report states the following:

"It is congested, but it is operating safely. This is substantiated by the volume of traffic served vs. The lack of accidents. However, the student population will increase again next semester. The school has the capacity to educate 1,250 students. Currently there are 980 students enrolled. That population will increase to over 1,100 for next semester. That will be over a 12% increase and will add additional traffic."

Since our investigation first aired in April, the town has painted a white stop bar and crosswalk on Placita el Cabo the site where a student on a motorized scooter hit a car.

But for now, a side entrance to Leman Academy along Sunkist Road will remain open, allowing traffic to flow in and out of the residential neighborhood.

We reached out to Leman Academy in April and again Tuesday afternoon, but no one has gotten back to us.

"For the residents, I don't think they quite have the outcome they're hoping for," said Oro Valley Town Council member Tim Bohen. "I'd like to see some of the residents that are directly impacted become part of the process."

McGowan attended Wednesday's meeting, and says she has spoken up, even before the school was built.

"We're just kind of raising our hands, like why are the residents being punished," asks McGowan. "That's really how we feel."

As the school continues to grow, town staff plan to study whether or not a traffic signal, road widening or turn lane are warranted.

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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