Omaha Police crack down on wrong-way drivers near elementary school

Omaha Police have begun to heavily monitor the one-way road near Florence Elementary.
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 10:18 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Earlier this month, 6 News helped concerned parents expose dangerous driving behavior near Florence Elementary School.

“I feel like it’s selfish, I feel like their only regard is for themselves,” said Lauren Mayo, whose child attends Florence.

“I get scared when my children get out of school,” parent Desiree Byrne added.

From 8 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon, 36th Street in front of Florence Elementary School is a one-way street.

Parents like Mayo and Byrne told 6 News that despite that, drivers are constantly going the wrong way down the road during busy school drop-off and pick-up times.

6 News caught at least seven community members on camera, including a daycare van, driving in the wrong direction.

“It is a huge concern, cause what if a child gets hit by a car? Then what?” Byrne added.

Omaha Police say they were made aware of the issue just days before 6 News reached out, and less than a week after our reporting, they had cruisers parked near the school during heavy traffic hours to help curb the issue.

“Sometimes people just aren’t aware, they don’t pay attention to the signs, and other times they just feel like they don’t have to pay attention because it’s the shortest way to get through the area and they decide to do what’s easy as opposed to what’s safe and legal,” said Northeast Precinct Captain Jay Leavitt.

In just one morning, Leavitt said they issued nine citations and three warnings for wrong-way drivers.

“We’re going to be out there trying to make a point and to give some education to people,” Leavitt said. “In the meantime, we’ve reached out to the schools to remind parents during pick up and drop off that it is a one-way street.”

While Leavitt said they can’t provide a patrol car outside the school every day, his precinct will be patrolling the area more frequently in hopes of continuing to deter the dangerous and illegal driving behavior.

“We’re definitely aware of it, we appreciate it being brought to our attention, and we’ll do what we can to educate people and try to change some behavior,” Leavitt said.