Student safety in crosswalks at MMS is concern of Mexico City Council member
Do you always adhere to road rules when driving through school crossing zones in the morning and afternoon?
Do you wait for the students to fully reach the school sidewalk before driving forward?
If you answer no, you're not alone.
According to Mexico City Councilman Steve Nichols, he has witnessed motorists continuously drive through the Mexico Middle School crosswalk while students are still in them.
"This concerns me, because we want to keep the kids safe," Nichols said. Mexico Chief of Public Safety Susan Rockett agreed and told Nichols her officers would check on the situation.
According to school officials and council, Mexico historically has had only one accident in the MMS crossing zone that resulted in a student being struck by a vehicle. The student was not injured, however the fear of future incidents still lingers. The student reportedly dashed out between passing vehicles to cross the street instead of using the crosswalk.
Director of Maintenance and Operations Mitch Ridgway said a lot of the problem at the crosswalks is "a matter of haste" when parents are dropping their kids off.
"Don't let your kids just jump out of the car in the middle of the crosswalk (and then dash across the street)," Ridgway said. Making them walk to the sidewalk, and then enter the crossing zone within the markings is an option.
"Or, letting them out on the same side of the roadway that the school is on is safer," he said.
Ridgway said the district has every warning device required in place at the crossing — reduced speed signs before entering the school zones and yellow flashing lights at the crosswalks. Sidewalk modifications were done to make it safer for students, and as staffing allows, Ridgway said MMS also has school personnel present in the evenings to watch the students at dismissal.
But he adds, "Even though every warning is there, it still comes down to using common sense. Drivers and students both need to be more cautious and keep their eyes open. We do the best we can to keep them safe and happy."
School parent Brad Owen parks his vehicle on a nearby church lot and uses the crosswalk to escort his son Chance Duran to school. Last week, Owen said he too has seen and heard concerns voiced about traffic issues in the crossing zones, and that he was glad to see the council take an interest.
State law says pedestrians have the right of way. Yet, police understand safety is a two-way street. Drivers who forget, and get caught, get a reminder.
Weekday mornings and evenings, patrolman can be seen monitoring traffic near the elementary, middle and high school, watching for violators. Failing to stop in a crosswalk can result in a fine more expensive than a traffic ticket.
Rocket said her officers have to cycle throughout all the schools, discussing safety issues and concerns. "And, we're on it," she told the council.