Home News S.A.F.E.: Crosswalks at Early Light Academy
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Written by Elly   
Saturday, 19 September 2009 15:32

If you have enjoyed the first round of the S.A.F.E. Program please us know your thouhgts by posting the in forums, thanks for your support and the next S.A.F.E articles will be up in a few weeks.

 

Thanks and remeber to VOTE for Joe Ross on Nov 3rd for South Jordan City Council

 

 

As most of you know, Daybreak welcomed a brand new elementary school this year: Early Light Academy. Along with hiring teachers, planning curriculum, and ordering desks, the school board at ELA has prepared for its first school year by giving consideration to its students’ daily commute to and from its doors. Working with the South Jordan Police Department, the school established a Safe Walk Route (every school in Utah has one) which shows families the safest ways to walk to school from the surrounding neighborhood. Unfortunately, when significant roads have to be crossed without crosswalks or crossing guards, “safe” becomes a relative term.

 

ELA crosswalk For the kids who walk to Early Light Academy, there are two considerably dangerous roads to cross. A crosswalk on the east side of the school is the major entrance and exit to the school grounds, and it runs through a street which, while empty throughout the day, becomes overrun by parent’s vehicles before and after school. But after the kids walk past some weedy empty ground and down a short side-street, they come to Grandville, a wide, hilly, curving thoroughfare (as far as Daybreak streets go). And across the street these kids go—several sidewalks emptying in several places up and down the street, no designated crosswalk, and definitely no crossing guard. There are usually about 100 children streaming across Grandville every day, and at least five or six cars, if not more, zooming up the hill in that half-hour after school. It’s chaos.

 

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices—or MUTCD, which outlines the federal guidelines for traffic safety—states, “For safety, students need to wait for a gap in traffic that is of sufficient duration to permit reasonably safe crossing. When the delay between the occurrence of adequate gaps becomes excessive, students might become impatient and endanger themselves by attempting to cross the street during an inadequate gap.” (7A.03) In plain old English, this means that kids get bored waiting for cars to pass and just go charging out across the street. Basically, according to the MUTCD, crossing guards are for creating long-enough gaps in traffic so kids can cross the street safely. They must carry a “STOP paddle” (7E.05) and “wear high-visibility retroreflective safety apparel” (7E.04).

 

Grandville crosswalk At the other schools in Daybreak, when parents are concerned about the streets their children have to cross, they accompany them to school. But at both street crossings at Early Light Academy, a few parents and teachers have taken it upon themselves to shepherd children across with no school-zone signs, no hand-held stop sign, and no reflective safety jacket. They’re taking their lives in their own hands, as well as the lives of the children they help across the street. While this may be commendable, it’s really dangerous—not just for their safety but the liability, if anything were to happen, would be pretty formidable.

 

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Hopefully, such measures won’t have to be taken much longer. Early Light Academy has been working with the police department to get official crossing guards put at their crosswalks—in fact, there’s usually a policeman around the area every day after school.

 

After speaking with Sergeant Rich Wittaker of the South Jordan Police Department, I have some good news: he is requesting four new crossing guards for the schools in Daybreak! Two at Early Light Academy, one at Eastlake Elementary at Topview and Degray, and one at Daybreak Elementary at Oakmond and Firmont. But as Sgt. Wittaker pointed out, it’s one thing to identify where crossing guards are needed, and it’s another thing entirely to convince South Jordan City to find the money in the middle of the fiscal year for crossing guards and school zones that were not budgeted.

 

Here’s my question: why weren’t they budgeted? Both Daybreak and Eastlake Elementaries have been asking for crossing guards from the city for over a year and Early Light Academy has been in the works for quite awhile, too, surely someone suspected they would need crossing guards. How did our children’s safety get dismissed from the city’s financial plans?

 

Now that we’re aware of the crosswalk situation around Daybreak, what can a concerned parent—or citizen, whether you have kids at local schools or not you don’t want to be the one who runs over a child in the street—do? First, vote for city officials who will prioritize safety where it should be: at the top. Then, educate yourself and your children about pedestrian and crosswalk safety. A retired law enforcement officer and Daybreak resident, after pointing out that vehicles must always stop for pedestrians where sidewalks intersect with streets and that he notices children crossing streets recklessly al the time, says, “…there will be no sadder day than the one where a pedestrian is struck, whether in the right or not. For the driver and the victim (and family) it will be devastating, as I have seen in the past, and there will be much armchair quarterbacking but the victim will be hurt just as badly and the lesson will be learned at a high cost.” Educate yourself, educate your children, and advocate greater safety measures in our city.
Last Updated on Monday, 21 September 2009 06:25
 
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