Students ignoring lengthy detour route along Mission Road prompts safety concerns

The approved detour route for the stretch of closed sidewalk along Mission Road.
The approved detour route for the stretch of closed sidewalk along Mission Road.

Students ignoring “sidewalk closed” signs along Mission Road this week prompted safety concerns from parents, educators and the police departments.

Crews had the stretch of approximately 50 feet along the Homestead Country Club entrance on Mission Road blocked off as they worked to replace the deteriorated sidewalk. But the pedestrian detour route the city and schools worked out had children making a sizable loop down Delmar Drive to 64th Street and then Homestead Drive — nearly 20 times further than the stretch of sidewalk that had been closed.

Children ignored the detour signs, instead hopping out into the street to walk the 50 feet in Mission Road. When the contractor alerted officials this week that he had “observed at least 20 kids walking around the sidewalk closed signs and out into the street into oncoming traffic during busy morning rush hour,” Prairie Elementary Principal Scott Merfen sent a message to parents encouraging them to stress the importance of following the detour route.

But after parents contacted the police department to suggest the detour route was unreasonably long, Prairie Village agreed to place officers at the site to help students safely cross by the Homestead entrance along Mission.

Contractors were scheduled to pour concrete on the sidewalk site Wednesday, and it is expected to be usable by Friday. Prairie Village police will be on the site before and after school today to help ensure safe passage for students.