Leaders of the Annur Islamic school say new traffic signs installed over the summer don’t do enough to alleviate their concerns about speeding cars driving past the building.
The principal and vice principal of the school — located about a block north of Central Avenue on Lansing Road in Colonie — said they’ve been asking for stop signs, flashing lights and more explicit “school” signage for the past five years.
Annur is a private school of about 135 students, pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade.
“I’ve put a lot of effort in the issue of safety, and it goes into a black hole,” said Annur Vice Principal Elizabeth Zahdan as she rifled through correspondence with state and federal lawmakers, the New York Department of Transportation, and the Town of Colonie.
Zahdan and Principal Walid Hawana said they’ve been most concerned about a sharp turn that obscures the view of drivers exiting the school’s parking lot, especially if they are turning left onto Lansing Road.
But Bill Neely, of the Town of Colonie Public Works Department, said the school crossing signs installed by the town over the summer are standard for schools in Colonie and that little else could be done as far as more signage is concerned.
He said Colonie police had ramped up enforcement of the 25 mph speed limit near the school but that it was impossible for them to have an officer posted there at all times.
“I understand their concerns, and part of it is an enforcement issue because of speed,” Neely said. “Unfortunately, in the world we live in, we can’t have a cop on every street.”
Although Neely said he had suggested to Annur leaders that it would be possible to add a crosswalk across Lansing Road, he said the school wasn’t willing to supply a crossing guard. Zahdan, however, said she had never heard such an offer.
The vice principal said the crosswalk would be a positive step and that the school would support “anything to improve the situation to minimize the risk of endangering” students, parents or staff.
At the core of the dispute is a palpable feeling from the school’s leaders that their concerns haven’t been taken seriously or that they have been dismissed outright.
Standing in front of the school on Tuesday afternoon,
Zahdan pointed as cars barreled around the blind turn and headed past the school without slowing.
“See … Look,” she said as the cars passed. “Why is nobody looking at us? They are not seeing our needs.”