EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Walking to school across Highway 41 is the reality for hundreds of students at Bosse High School and Washington Middle School. Several attempts to fund a pedestrian bridge have failed.
Once again, the community is raising safety concerns. Hundreds are signing a petition, demanding to make the intersection safer for children.
Students who live on the west side of Highway 41 could be just half of a mile from school, but they still have to walk across a busy state highway at least twice a day.
“Now something has to be done," says William Payne. "The days of telling us that we’re working on it. We’re ready for some action.”
Payne says he is just advocating for a community of concerned parents who have no choice but to watch their children take a gamble to get to school, a gamble that has spanned a generation.
“They remember what it was like when we had to walk to school, when we had to walk to school and dodge cars and almost see people get hit," says Payne. "Those people from generations are the ones that believe this overpass is needed.”
Payne started this petition to city leaders last week, but it is far from the first initiative. The city has been asking the state to build a pedestrian bridge for the past 20 years.
“Just in February, the Mayor sent another letter to INDOT asking for it to be reviewed," says Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer. "We have another meeting coming up with them, and we know Mayor Winnecke is going to be pressing them again to do it.”
Schaefer tells us building an overpass there comes with more problems than just finding the funding.
“It terms of the space that’s there for a pedestrian bridge, it’s a very narrow area and that’s a major part of the problem,” says Schaefer.
But one way or another, Payne says they will not stop.
“We hate to do the civil disobedience and everybody come out here and stop traffic, but if that’s what we have to do in order for our kids to be safe, then that’s what we’re prepared to do,” says Payne.
Payne tells us he is hopeful this round will have enough momentum to bring change. At last check, the petition had 903 signatures.