ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Residents from the Ashlin Park community in Windermere said the school traffic near there homes is a safety hazard and they are fed up.
Some residents said they have even received backlash just for telling drivers to respect their neighborhood.
Giselle Zavala is the HOA vice president in Ashlin Park.
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“We feel that they’re violating our space every morning and afternoon,” Zavala said.
She said some Horizon West Middle School parents are the cause for distress in their community.
The middle school is right across the street from their homes.
To avoid long drop-off and pick-up lines – Zavala said drivers are cutting through their neighborhood –driving fast, causing unwanted traffic, and even parking in front of their driveways before walking across the street to grab their kids.
“It’s very frustrating for our community to have to worry about the safety of our kids walking to school because of parents who just don’t [want to] do the right thing,” Zavala said.
Zavala said this alleyway here on Thicket Branch Alley is the epicenter of it all.
The area is blocked off with a tarp and multiple potted plants.
The community took matters into their own hands, creating this blockade to deter drivers from entering their neighborhood and parking there.
News 6 Reporter Treasure Roberts spoke with another resident who asked to be anonymous. He said before they put up the tarp there was always a crowd of cars parking in that area.
He said it is important they know the alleyway is a private road, it is co-owned by the homeowners on each corner.
The neighbors here say they have reached out to school officials many times about this issue.
“All we can do is keep contact with them make announcements and those announcements usually don’t work ,” a resident said.
News 6 reporter Treasure Roberts reached out to Orange County Public Schools hoping to get results for the residents.
They sent this statement that reads in-part:
“The correct pick-up and drop-off location at Horizon West Middle School is in the car loop within the parking lot. That information is made clear to families at the school.”
For those who may be wondering if it is legal to block off Thicket Branch Alley, News 6 reporter Treasure Roberts did reach out to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office said it is an HOA controlled alley, not a county roadway.
The blockade is just a temporary solution. Money from the community’s safety fund will be used to put up a permanent fence in the alleyway. The fence will be closest to the county roadway and will not allow exit or entry.
The community expects the fence to be put in place within the next two weeks.
Until then, residents ask drivers show a little more respect for their community.
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