At the same intersection where a school crossing guard was killed and two children were injured this past May, Pinellas County has decided to stop using crossing guards altogether, according to recent news in the Tampa Bay Times. The county’s position is that instead of endangering more people by having crossing guards help direct students across the street; they are adding an extra bus stop.
All the children who previously had to cross the road will now use an additional bus stop across the street.
The County is also making improvements for disabled sidewalk users, installing yellow flashing lights, and has already repainted the crosswalks. More pedestrian safety improvements are sure to follow as FDOT has visited the intersection to troubleshoot. Residents, however, are not impressed.
As of this week, children were still seen walking, skating, and riding across the intersection. Many believe that even with the addition of a new bus stop, students still need a crossing guard to encourage people to use the crosswalks safely and make drivers aware of their presence.
I appreciate the County’s efforts but this still does not solve the problem. We can not account for the irresponsible decisions of every driver and don’t have access to county statistics regarding other incidents or close calls at this crosswalk.
These are difficult choices. But, children still use this crosswalk regularly. And, we have to wonder if it wouldn’t be safer to have the presence of a crossing guard along with the enhancements the news article discussed.