Standing in the middle of the street with a reflective yellow vest and a hand held stop sign, Jerry the crossing guard dodges moving cars, and tries to avoid bodily injury every school day to help my grand daughter and me cross West Ridley to Lakeview; it's more than a dangerous assignment - it's an accident waiting to happen.
Over the past decade, the accident rate for crossing guards has increased 65% and School Crossing Guards have become one of the most dangerous occupations in local government. And no wonder, thirty years ago, over 50% of children walked to school, whereas today, the number's dwindled to only 15%.
The increase in car delivered children makes the school zone around Lakeview and the Middle School clogged with more traffic than they were designed to handle, and a lot more dangerous then was intended. Sit any morning at the intersections of West Ridley & Trainor, or West Dupont and Free streets and you'll see plenty of near mishaps every morning. These crossings are a mess with motorists in a hurry to drop off children and there's little regard for stop signs, cross walks and one-way signs.
Giving out tickets might help with an immediate problem but a successful campaign needs to address the public's' awareness and include police enforcement. As I see it, every morning at the corner of West Ridley & Trainor Streets, the most dangerous threat to Jerry the Crossing Guard and our children are the parents who are dropping off their children at Lakeview. A parent awareness campaign at Lakeview and the Middle School might help us avoid a dangerous conclusion to an avoidable problem.