Praying for a safe school year


Yield to pedestrian signs were placed in the center of the streets of New Philadelphia. A reminder of what should be common courtesy. I realize that sometimes it is hard to see pedestrians due to obstructed views, for instance while they are standing by parked cars; many times, I have driven by only to see the walker when it was too late to stop.

However, when you are in a school zone in the early morning and a student is standing in a crosswalk in plain sight, I believe there is no excuse to avoid yielding to that student. Unless of course, you are driving an emergency vehicle on the way to an emergency situation. Yet, I have witnessed this dangerous act twice recently in the same intersection.

Last spring, I was driving westbound on Oak Street. When I came upon the area where the Lady Trojans' softball field and the Newcomerstown High School parking lot are, there is a crosswalk that connects them and an alley runs parallel to the crosswalk. There were vehicles stopped at opposite sides of the intersection of the ally and Oak Street. I had the right of way. I stopped near the crosswalk, made eye contact with the student and motioned the student to cross. The student nodded and waved a thank you, then proceeded to step out onto the street. One of the vehicles then pulled out around me and missed the student by a narrow margin! Then to my horror, the other vehicle, a Newcomerstown Police car, pulled out, also turning in front of the student attempting to cross the street. Both of these vehicles had to maneuver around my car as I was stopped right in the middle of the intersection!

Just this morning it almost happened again! Only this time, I hesitated to motion to the student to step onto the street. I stopped in the intersection and was making eye contact with the student to let her know I was yielding to her. She proceeded to cross. A minivan stopped along the alley right beside where the girl had been standing, attempted to pull out! I slowly pulled up to put myself between the girl and the van. It frightens me to think that my daughters have crossed there hundreds of times!

Please watch out for the students walking to and from school. Let's work together to ensure their safety. Even if you are in a hurry and running late, it only takes a brief moment to allow them to cross inside crosswalks. At the same time, please let your children know the risks of crossing outside the crosswalks. I have seen many young children attempting to cross busy streets between moving vehicles outside of crosswalks and against the stoplights.

Praying for a safe school year,

Kathy Fenton