SPRING HILL - Those who live in residential areas like the ones neighboring J.D. Floyd and Explorer K8 have been searching for a sign, and this summer that message has finally been delivered.
It says no parking, stopping or standing on school days between the hours of 8 and 10 a.m. and 2 to 5 p.m..
"It's not so much immediate enforcement as much as immediate education," said Lt. John Cameron with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. "We want to be fair to the parents while ensuring the safety of the students, so we've partnered with the county and school district to do as much as we possibly can to educate the parents who have to pick up and drop students off."
County commissioners approved the ordinance prohibiting stopping, standing or parking cars within county right-of-ways 750 feet from the entrances of schools, and during the times prior to the start and end of school days.
When the school district acted to eliminate bus routes within a 2-mile radius of schools last year, the consequences manifested on front lawns, driveways and road shoulders in neighborhoods across the county.
Twice a day for five days a week, parents and carpoolers lined neighborhood roads sometimes hours before the final dismissal bell would ring, initiating the 45-minute parade of students through residential areas.
Those stalled from leaving or returning to their homes resorted to staking their own signs in the grass, but their concerns were at a standstill with those expressed by parents. It was only a matter of time before residents started roping their property off with orange construction tape.
"At J.D. Floyd and Explorer, those were the two schools we saw the most congestion," Cameron said. "We're going to address those first, but eventually they'll be at all the schools."
Law enforcement wants to give fair warning before that first $50 citation is issued - schools have already sent out a mass automated message to parents about it, Cameron said.
"We're going to have deputies in the school zones, particularly in the first week educating the people, and letting them know the ordinance is in effect," he added.