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Parents concerned about safety due to obstructed flashing school zone sign

RICHMOND, Va. -- Day in and day out, Jenifer Mason deals with the traffic on a busy stretch of Midlothian Turnpike just past Belt Boulevard.

More than 17,000 cars a day use this road.

Nothing raises her anxiety level more than seeing cars whizzing by, ignoring the speed limit as they approach Richmond’s George Wythe High School.

“I’m very concerned that somebody might get hit and I wouldn’t want that to be my child nor anybody else’s child. The traffic thru there, the speed through there is just horrendous,” Mason explained.

In recent weeks something else in the George Wythe school zone has raised Mason’s concern level.

A tree growing over the sidewalk, inching into the street, is covering what should be a safety warning sign for drivers.

“I’ve been traveling through there for eight years. This school year has been a particular problem because the light is blocked by a tree when you’re going westbound,” said Mason.

The light Mason is referring to is the flashing school zone sign.

“The one eastbound does not flash at all. I haven’t seen it flash since school started,” she added.

Julie Newcomb has noticed the same thing.

Both women asked CBS 6 Problem Solvers to find out who’s responsible for cutting the tree back and keeping the flashing school zone signs in working order.

Both, worried that if left unchecked it could put students in danger.

“If there was an accident. If someone was walking down the sidewalk, you know that child could be hit,” said Newcomb. “It’s not a wide street by any means and there’s always kids around here, always.”

Jenifer Mason and Julie Newcomb

CBS 6 Problem Solvers spoke with the homeowner off camera, who says though it’s his tree, the city has trimmed it in years past, but he understands the safety hazard it poses.

A city spokesperson confirms the tree is the homeowner’s responsibility to cut.

The homeowner tells CBS 6 he will trim back the tree before the weekend is over. Something that makes these two moms breathe a little easier.

“I think that’s pretty good. That’s maybe he didn’t know and now that he does, if he’s willing to do something about it, good. But you still would think that the city would be responsible because that’s a school sign,” said Newcomb.

CBS 6 Problem Solvers reported the school zone sign issue to the Department of Public Works. A spokesperson said a traffic engineer would take a look and make any necessary repairs.

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