Potential solution surfaces for Alachua Learning Academy school zone

The 45 mph speed signs along State Road 235 near Alachua Learning Academy (ALA) are the wrong color to force traffic to slow down, the Alachua County director of Public Works said Friday.

According to Alachua County Engineer and Public Works Director Ramon Gavarrete, yellow speed limit signs are a warning, not the law.

For years parents have been saying that traffic on the stretch of SR 235 has been speeding through the area where two schools are located along a two-lane highway. Without turning lanes or school zone notices, ALA Principal K.P. Rivera said the area remains a safety concern, especially during student pickup and dropoff times.

Currently there are two yellow 45 mph signs facing each direction notifying drivers that a cautionary speed of 45 mph is suggested. However, Gavarrete confirmed that unless the sign is white with black numbers, the speed limit by law remains what it is for the rest of the highway in that area: 55 mph.

After a head-on collision involving a grandparent picking up a student from ALA and a vehicle with a driver and two children in it occurred on Wednesday, parents and Rivera have been reaching out for help in making the area safer.

Because ALA is a public charter school, Gavarrete said Rivera needs to send the School Board of Alachua County and him a letter asking for creation of a school zone. Then the process of lobbying the state to change the stretch to an official school zone can begin.

Rivera said on Friday that he was going to issue that letter right away.

This story was updated to reflect the 55 mph limit on SR 235.

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