The crossing guard will be returning to the intersection of Central and Sycamore starting Thursday.
Town Council members announced Tuesday night that after reviewing results of a recent traffic study at the intersection, they have decided to restore the crossing guard they cut last month. The cut was made as part of the overall reduction in the number of crossing guards, made in response to a revenue decline in the town budget.
The cut at Central and Sycamore caused a mobilization of residents in the Manor Park neighborhood, who said children walking from the neighborhood - on the eastern side of Central Avenue - to Jefferson School and Edison Intermediate School were in danger when crossing the intersection. They said the heavy traffic at the intersection and drivers rushing the light and making turns have encroached on the crosswalks. Parents have been coming to Town Council meetings for several weeks urging the Council to reinstate the crossing guard.
Council members said the crossing guard was cut from the intersection due to a traffic light being at the intersection.
The issue has become a partisan hot potato in recent weeks with Democrats - led by former Third Ward Council candidate Matt Sontz - opposing the cut against the Republican dominated Council. Sontz denied there was any partisan motivation in the issue and said he has not determined if he will again seek the third ward seat in 2011. Sontz lost two to one against Councilman Mark Ciarrocca in 2007.
The Council had a traffic enforcement officer study the intersection for several weeks and the data in the traffic report led to the Council's public safety committee to reinstate the guard.
Council members thanked all the parents for their input and they all felt very good that they are able to ensure the safety of the children. They were sorry that this was ever a problem at all, but said that until you actually implement a particular solution and see it in action, you can't know all of its pitfalls. One mother, Michelle Weinberg, was present and thanked the council for their action on this issue.