Polk officials talk about ways to make Clubhouse Road safer after deaths

Kalen Kirk

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – On Thursday parents and neighbors expressed outrage because they say a dark stretch of Polk County road is too dangerous for people crossing the street.

In May a 17-year-old student from George Jenkins High School in Lakeland was killed as he tried to catch the bus.

Lisa and Tony Kirk
Lisa and Tony Kirk

The parents of Kalen Kirk are heartbroken and frustrated. Their teenage boy was the third victim, in as many years, killed while trying to walk across a dark stretch of Clubhouse Road in Lakeland.

Even though a light was installed after Kalen’s death, this family is hoping the county and state will do even more to keep people safe.

Although it was too late for their beloved son, the family remains vigilant and passionate about the fight to make things better. They are attending a special meeting Thursday night where leaders from Polk County and the Florida Department of Transportation are talking about ideas to secure safety for pedestrians along Clubhouse Road. The officials are discussing options such as better signage, sidewalks, crosswalks and speed signs.

A study was done over the summer, when school is not in session, to figure out how to make this particular road safer. But, Kalen’s parents maintain that is simply not enough. “What traffic study is needed with three kids have lost their lives? Why does the study even need to be done? We’re talking about commonsense measures here,” Lisa Kirk said.

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