Several different factors have contributed to the many “near misses” that have taken place at the High School Crosswalk. One of them is a lack of visibility particularly for the Crossing Guard who is stationed there. There are several students who participate in the swimming program and cross over to the High School from the Civic Center in the mornings. It is still dark at this time and the Crossing Guard often has difficulty getting motorists attention when she needs to aid students in crossing. The city does give the Crossing Guards a safety vest with reflective tape, a flashlight, a hand held STOP sign ,and a wand to use in the line of duty. Yet, at times better visibility is still needed for all the Crossing Guards. We have found several things that would help with the visibility issue and they include: Reflective safety vests with flashing LED lights, hand held STOP signs with flashing LED lights, and reflective arm bands with LED “flashers” attached. Similar “flashers” were given to the Robertsville students who participated in the “Walk This Way” program there last fall. We would like for other students at Jefferson Middle School and the High School who walk or ride bikes to school while it is still dark to have these “flashers” as well.
As usual funding for these types of items is difficult to come by and who to ask for the funding is an ambiguous issue (the school administration or the city)??? After determining that the Police Department would accept these items as donations we, the Protect Oak Ridge Kids Moms, have ordered 8 of the vests to donate to the Police Dept to issue to the current Crossing Guards and one additional vest. We found the vests on Amazon.com for $14.99 each (reduced from $46.00 each). Needless to say we could not pass up this bargin! Individuals or businesses can contribute to the costs of the vests and the other items mentioned above. We would love for them all to be implemented! If you are interested in making a donation to this cause please e-mail us and we will give you information on how to do that.
Of course, visibility is NOT the only issue that needs addressing at the High School crossing area. A permanent solution such as a traffic light would greatly enhance safety at this location. The light would need to include left and right turn signals and enough time for students and pedestrians to cross there. And no, this would NOT eliminate the need for the School Crossing Guard!
In addition ,continued police presence in all of our school zones is a must to deter speeding. Responsible, safe driving practices of the motorists in our city are imperitive as well.