Parking issues raised near new Altoona Elementary School

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- The Eau Claire County Highway Department is raising concerns about people parking along both sides of the highway near the new Altoona Elementary School.

The department said it narrows County Highway KB and is unsafe for families and children to walk down the highway. They said it’s an issue that needs to be fixed before snow falls this winter.

At least twice now, Eau Claire County Highway Commissioner Jon Johnson said there's been an overflow of parking at the school due to school events, causing people to park on both sides of the highway and families and children to walk down the road.

“We need to keep the cars off the highway, especially this winter we do not want families and children to have to walk down the highway to get to the school; and especially during a snow event or low visibility, it’s just something we're not going to be able to allow,” Johnson said.

Johnson added the only reason people should be parking along the edge of the highway is in an emergency situation as the road is not designed to allow parked cars as it causes a safety issue.

In each instance, Johnson said cars were parked from Sunday Drive all the way past the County Highway SS bridge intersection with Highway KB.

“That was one of the main dynamics that was discussed,” explained Altoona Police and Fire Chief Jesse James. “It’s very difficult for people traveling westbound that come into Altoona to see the pedestrians walking on the highway to go to the event at the school. Obviously it’s something we're going to have to take a look at because the safety of our community is first and foremost, and we're going to have to take a deeper look at it and come to some solutions for what exists out there.”

Now it’s still very early on in the process as the highway department met for the first time to discuss the issue Thursday morning.

The department plans to meet with law enforcement next Wednesday to figure out a few solutions. From there, they will talk with the school about what they can do.

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