EARLY — To reduce the possibility of accidents at Early Independent School District campuses, the City of Early has placed several “no parking” signs along Sudderth Drive in front of the new elementary school and along Sunrise Drive between the elementary and middle school buildings.

“The traffic in this area is very congested,” Early Police Chief David Mercer said. “It is at its peak at the beginning of school and when school lets out.”

Mercer said the department observed several near-accidents during the last school year.

“As we watched, there would be parents parking along Sudderth Drive to pick up and drop off their kids, but there were so many cars parked in that area that we would see kids run out between parked cars and almost get hit,” Mercer said. “We are trying to make the area safe as possible for everyone. This is about trying to prevent the tragedy of a child being hit by a car.”

A few minor vehicle accidents also occurred in that area, Mercer said.

A sign has also been placed at the intersection of Sudderth and Sunrise reminding motorists not to block that intersection.

“That will allow traffic to keep flowing out of Sunrise when cars are waiting to turn into the elementary building,” Mercer said.

Initial violations will result in warnings, Mercer said.

“At some point in time down the road, violators will be ticketed,” the chief said.

Mercer said planning will help deal with congestion.

“Leave early and plan ahead so you have enough time to get in and out safely,” Mercer said.

The city will soon be placing signs throughout the campuses that will remind drivers that cell phone use is prohibited in school zones. The signs are in response to House Bill 55, signed by Gov. Rick Perry in mid-June, which prohibits the operator of a motor vehicle from using a wireless communication device within a school crossing zone. That law will go into effect Sept. 1, but signs are required for enforcement.