Watertown Daily Times | Hammond student advocates for pedestrian safety

HAMMOND — A fifth-grader at Hammond Central School wants to see safety measures in the form of a crosswalk between the school at 51 S. Main St. and the Dollar General store.

Standing before a group of community members and the Hammond Central School Board of Education during Tuesday evening’s monthly meeting, Dylan J. Burns, a fifth-grader at the school, was introduced by his guardian, Tim Cobb.

Mr. Cobb began by reading reports of people who were killed in car-pedestrian crashes in front of schools due to what the young Mr. Burns said was poor crossing conditions.

“I take Dylan to school most of the days of the week and I pick him up after school at three o’clock,” Mr. Cobb said. “When I first started coming here this fall, there’s no marking where there is a pick-up or a drop-off for students, so I parked across the street at the Dollar General store.”

He said Dylan would walk to a crosswalk down the street from the school over to the post office, next door to the Dollar General, but the young man noticed “a problem of student safety” where other students cross over to the store where there is no designated crosswalk.

After approaching school board Vice President Theodore Elk about it, Dylan was invited to the monthly meeting to give a presentation.

“Well, the first problem is they keep walking across the street and there are no markings,” Dylan said of students at the school. “They literally have to step in the road for the cars to stop or they don’t stop. So that is why I was wondering if we could have a crosswalk put in there.”

He pointed to an instance recently where he said a group of teenagers were nearly hit by a school bus because of their failure to use the crosswalk down the road.

“I just see a lot of random kids, teenagers and high schoolers — and my sister is one of them — who just walk across (outside of the crosswalk),” Dylan said, adding that one of his friends was hurt when he was hit by a car. “This summer he was just walking across and he got hit.”

With his presentation, Dylan had a three-paneled display that listed the problems and possible solutions to prevent pedestrians from being hit by vehicles, such as the installation of a designated crosswalk from the school to the Dollar General, crosswalk signage, a push-button light and teachers reminding students to use crosswalks.

“(Traffic) does not have to stop if they are just walking across the street where there is no crosswalk,” Dylan said. “They don’t have to stop. But they do have to stop where there are crosswalks and when they are walking across.”

He told the board that he would also be willing to sit on any committee that would afford the opportunity to give student input.

Board President Douglas E. Delosh said he would be getting together with the town and village board and highway superintendent to see what measures could be taken to improve the situation.



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