Safe Routes to School program nixing 7 pilot crossing guard locations due to low usage

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

A crossing guard helps students and their families safely cross the street at the intersection of 19th and Vermont streets outside Cordley Elementary School following the first day of the new school year Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023.

Starting Dec. 2, students making their way to school shouldn’t expect to see a crossing guard stationed at seven crossings added as pilot locations for the first half of the school year.

The City of Lawrence announced late last week that the seven pilot crossing guard locations the city implemented this fall did not meet the criteria warranting a permanent guard on duty. Those routes include:

• Iowa Street and Clinton Parkway

• Iowa and 27th streets

• Sixth Street and Folks Road

• Sixth Street and Stoneridge Drive

• 23rd and Louisiana streets

• Ninth Street and Emery Road

• Sixth and Michigan streets

According to the city, the criteria for placing a permanent crossing guard at an intersection controlled by a traffic signal is a minimum of 30 children per day using the crossing. The highest number of children crossing daily at any location was four, and that was at just one crossing. At three other locations, one child crossed daily, and the other three pilot locations didn’t have any children crossing daily.

“As part of our commitment to safety, the city piloted adult crossing guards at key locations aligned with the 2023-2024 USD 497 adopted elementary school boundaries,” the city’s release reads. “These temporary placements were strategically selected, considering the potential for increased street crossings for K-5 students due to boundary changes.”

Four of the seven pilot locations were part of a group of eight crossing guard jobs that were still vacant when the school year began in mid-August, as the Journal-World reported. By about two weeks later, nearly all of the vacancies had been filled.

The Safe Routes to School initiative is a collaboration between the city, the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health and the Lawrence school district.


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