HOUSTON – Parents in northwest Harris County are fighting for change to a bustling intersection, which many parents say creates the perfect storm for accidents, especially with children crossing for school.
On Tuesday, Harris County Precinct 4 deputies said a 12-year-old student on his bicycle was hit by a car crossing the intersection. This comes just months after a fatal accident involving an 18-year-old student in May. Now, residents are urging Precinct 4 and local leaders to make changes soon.
The intersection of Kuykendahl Road and Creekside Green Drive has been an area of interest and contention in the northwest Harris County community.
“It’s rush hour in the morning and this [intersection] is the south entrance to the Woodlands,” Laura Colvin said. “You have the congestion from traffic, students crossing... and early in the morning you have the bright sun.”
Colvin is at that intersection daily. The intersection is the main artery of traffic and access to two schools and her church. The Woodlands neighborhood is one known for families, walkers and cyclists.
“It’s so dangerous. We need a solution,” Colvin said.
This effort was further fueled Tuesday morning after Precinct 4 deputy constables reported a 12-year-old student riding his bicycle was hit crossing Kuykendahl Road on Creekside Green Drive trying to get to school. The driver was turning right onto Kuykendahl Road, headed south when he hit the 12-year-old, according to Colvin, who saw the accident.
“With my mom eyes... I watched the boys get mostly across, and then a gentleman in his car wanting to turn South just didn’t see [the 12-year-old],” Colvin said.
The 12-year-old is now being hospitalized. The parents said their son is expected to survive and is recovering from a broken wrist, bumps and bruises. Precinct 4 said the driver, in this case, has been charged.
However, this is now another incident KPRC 2 has covered at this intersection. In May, at this same intersection, the community mourned the loss of an 18-year-old girl who was also on her bicycle headed home when she was hit by a car. She lost her life. A teddy bear and memorial lay at the area where she was hit.
“We all look at that memorial before driving through this intersection,” Colvin said.
The 18-year-old girl’s mother, Catalina Boada, spoke with KPRC 2 after learning about the 12-year-old boy’s accident Tuesday.
“I will pray tonight with my family that [the 12-year-old boy] is safe... that he makes it,” Boada said. “My daughter was killed five minutes from home... If we can make it easier and safer for our children to cross the street, why can’t we do that?”
Boada said she hopes no other children or family have to suffer from an accident. Boada pushed for officials to look at what they could do and also urged drivers to be more vigilant in that area.
“Our life was changed forever. My beautiful daughter had a lot of things to look forward to. She had just graduated,” Boada said. “There has to be something intrinsically wrong with that crossing.”
That tragedy inspired parents like Colvin to speak out. For months, Colvin pushed for action at the intersection but up until the accident Tuesday, no material changes were made.
Colvin created this petition at noon Tuesday, which garnered more than 1,200 signatures for support to make the intersection more safe.
The Harris County Engineering Department responded to KPRC 2’s request stating that Harris County Precinct 4 is responsible for that area of land and intersection.
The Harris County Engineering Department stated to KPRC 2:
Following the May crash, Harris County Precinct Four requested that the Harris County Engineering Department conduct a formal traffic safety study in this area. Such a referral is a standard procedure in the County and other jurisdictions, as it employs trained engineers to apply their experience and expertise in analyzing potential safety improvements.
That traffic engineering study was recently completed. It recommended enhanced safety measures along both Kuykendahl Road and Creekside Green Drive, including an expansion of the existing reduced-speed school zones and installation of flashing school zone speed limit signs.
Precinct Four subsequently authorized the installation to proceed, and the work will be progressing quickly. We anticipate pavement marking and sign installations beginning this week, with the installation of the flashers by next week.
The Woodlands Township spokesperson also responded to KPRC that while as a Township, it has no control over the intersection or even the authority to make changes, as Precinct 4 owns both of these roadways. However, it will continue to keep the conversation alive with their residents. A Woodlands Township representative stated to KPRC 2: “As a special purpose district, The Woodlands Township does not have the ability to manage or change intersections, has no authority over the roadways, design of roads built, or the school district. BUT, it doesn’t mean we’re not trying our best to help in this situation.
With that being said, The Woodlands Township continues to use whatever influence we have to help get a solution implemented. In fact, The Woodlands Township Chairman Gordy Bunch invited Harris County Precinct 4 to make a presentation in the summer after the tragic death of one of our residents at the intersection you referenced to help influence change needed to be made.
The Woodlands Township Director Bob Milner has attended numerous meetings and has held dozens upon dozens of conversations and meetings with parents regarding this issue over the past several weeks/months.
Last Friday, Chairman Bunch again requested this intersection be placed on the next Township Board of Director’s meeting, which will be held [Wednesday] night. The Agenda item reads:
Receive, consider and act upon an update from the Harris County Engineering Department regarding traffic flow / traffic management in the Creekside Green/Kuykendahl area. Chairman Bunch has stated numerous times, “We will use whatever influence we have to help get a solution implemented. I know Director Bob Milner and I offered to personally fund the crossing guard equipment needed at this intersection.
The meeting takes place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at The Woodlands Township, 2801 Technology Forest Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77381.”
Parents like Colvin said that they are looking forward to Precinct 4 and the Harris County Engineering Department’s changes and said that they will continue to voice their need for change.
“What happened this morning could have been avoided and it was the cost of inaction,” Colvin said.