Busy Austin street now has crosswalk, after 11-year old's efforts

Back in 2015, then Cedar Creek Elementary School student, Renee Lofye realized there were issues for kids crossing the street near the school she would be later going to Hill Country Middle School.

There are a lot of cars just like rocketing past and sometimes they have to wait a while so there's a gap in traffic

Those problems only got worse over time.

“One time I had to wait probably five to ten minutes just to cross the street with my mom once,” said Lofye.

“It didn't take me long after I got here, to begin to see there was a problem. This road has become very, very congested,” said Kathleen Sullivan, principal of Hill Country Middle School.

Principal Sullivan says at least 200 kids would be crossing Walsh Tarlton Lane any given day.

“In order to help with some of the gridlock of traffic, parents pick up either on my campus, at the cedar creek elementary campus which is right next door to us, or some of the students will walk down here and cross to the shopping center,” said Sullivan.

In 2015, during a Girl Scouts educational visit to city hall, Lofye met with Austin City Council member Ellen Troxclair.

“I kind of ask them what their favorite part of living in the city is, how they can contribute. But it's kind of unusual to have a specific request,” said Troxclair.

That request was to place a pedestrian beacon in that highly trafficked area near Hill Country Middle and Cedar Creek Elementary. Lofye and Eanes ISD raised $40,000. Troxclair put in $75,000 from city transportation money. The beacon was put in in October 2017 and it already is making a difference. Monday, Troxclair hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony, celebrating the achievement.

“Pedestrian safety is always really important, especially when you're talking about near a school,” said Troxclair.

“I have noticed that people actually slow down and stop much more than they did,” said Sullivan.

This beacon installation is just a reminder how even the little voices can be heard when they speak up.

“If there's a problem, talk to your council members or superintendent,” said Lofye.