Home News S.A.F.E.: Crosswalks at Eastlake Elementary
S.A.F.E.: Crosswalks at Eastlake Elementary Print E-mail
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Written by Elly   
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 22:33

 Part Two of our Three part story, Early Light Academy coming on Sat 9/19~ 

    On a quiet afternoon in Murray in May 2007, a young father was walking his kindergartner home from school. As they crossed four traffic lanes on 1300 East in a pedestrian crosswalk with no crossing guard, they were both struck by a car and killed instantly. At Eastlake Elementary in Daybreak, 13 children have to cross four lanes of traffic on South Jordan Parkway to reach their school. And there is not even a crosswalk, let alone a crossing guard. 


    Principal Jan Tanner, concerned about the safety of these kids coming from Northshore, requested that the police department perform a traffic check on the area to determine if it was eligible for a crossing guard. I spoke to Sgt. Whitaker, Traffic Division Supervisor in charge of crossing guards, who said that he did not see a single child crossing that wide street. So, it doesn’t get a crossing guard. 


    See, here’s the catch with establishing crossing guards: it’s a retro-active process. There have to be children, at least 20 children, already crossing the street regularly in order for it to qualify for a crossing guard. Those are federal guidelines. But if I were a parent living in Northshore, I would drive my children the five blocks to and from school every day rather than send them out unattended across South Jordan Parkway. So, there will not likely be any children crossing the street until a crossing guard is put in place, and there will not be a crossing guard hired until at least 20 children cross the street regularly. What’s to be done?



    Principal Tanner can go back and request a crosswalk from the city engineers (she has to start the process all over again having been turned down for a crossing guard initially). Northshore parents can start walking their children to school regularly (at least it’ll be a good opportunity to teach safe street-crossing skills) until there are enough of them to qualify for a crossing guard. And then Tanner can go back to the police department and request a crossing guard again. Hopefully, as Northshore grows in it won’t be too long before that crosswalk and guard get put in place.





    There’s a similar situation down at the intersection of 4000 West and South Jordan Parkway. 150 children live in The Bluffs subdivision and aren’t eligible for bus service. Sgt. Whitaker only counted two girls crossing 4000 West, and since there is already a traffic light with a crossing signal, he couldn’t justify the money for a crossing guard. Once again parents, if you want a crossing guard: walk your children to school, and ask your neighbors to walk to school, get your principal involved, and get the police department involved. And then figure out how to convince the city to pay for it. 


northwest crosswalk Eastlake     Besides the peripheral street-crossings, Eastlake Elementary has six crosswalks immediately around its perimeter. And how many of those six do you think have crossing guards? You guessed it, one—the one that was originally slated for Daybreak Elementary. While I understand that putting a crossing guard at every crosswalk is hardly feasible, a one-to-six (make that one-to-eight if you count the others) ratio for crossing guards to street-crossings seems pretty steep. Principal Jan Tanner was amazed one day as she left school early and, driving past Elk Meadows Elementary off 9800 South, spied three separate crossing guards for the school! And she wonders why her school with so many more crosswalks only gets one... She told me that after calling the city several times about her crossing guards, she was finally told that there was no money and she was lucky to have the one.



    Principal Tanner is grateful that there have not been any accidents in the full year that Eastlake Elementary has been open. But she agrees that awareness of crosswalk safety shouldn’t be retroactive like the crossing guard request process, you don’t want someone to get hurt for something to get done.


Stay tuned for the last installment: crosswalks at Early Light Academy and some exciting news from South Jordan City!

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 September 2009 08:11
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