Summer is ending and school is starting, Sept. 3 to be exact. There will be an influx of additional traffic and pedestrians on already busy roadways. Curtis Elementary will have a new crossing guard, though she is not new to Chester. The point is that if you drive through Chester, or any other part of Chesterfield County where a school exists, then you must be prepared for traffic delays. Though it has been hard for many of us to get used to the 35 MPH speed limit change on Rt. 10, from Curtis St. to Rt. 1, I hope that it will be a help in keeping the speed down through the crossings in Chester.
Let me speak to the ones that disregard school zone speed limits, as well as the signals given by crossing guards. Though there seems to be a trend to build new schools off of the beaten path, there are still many schools that sit on major roadways; some of which have pedestrians and some that just have a lot of bus traffic. Not every school in Chesterfield County has a crossing guard, but the ones that do are there because of children that walk to and from school. Driving is a privilege and a responsibility. A major part of that responsibility is the safety of everyone inside and outside of your vehicle. If you do not have the patience to properly negotiate a school zone, then you must take another route.
To the scores of parents that will drive their children to school, mind your manners as well. It is not the job of a crossing guard to help you into or out of the school, but many do it to keep the traffic flow smooth. You must know that many schools were never designed for this heavy parent traffic, so school administrators have had to develop workable solutions to the issues created. The bottom line is that it is going to take time for you to safely enter the traffic flow in the parent drop-off area and to exit the parking lot. I would also remind you that the decisions that you make, while entering or exiting, will directly affect the crossing guard. Be attentive.
It is my hope that this will be a safe and productive school year. We are blessed to have the many safety features in place, designed to protect our children. A key part of safety is the acknowledgement and preparation of those who must drive through these crossings as well. Give yourself plenty of time for whatever might occur. Running over a child or causing an accident at a crossing will stop traffic in and around that crossing, much less disrupt the lives of many more than just you. Drive through the crossing as if it were your child or grandchild that has to cross that street. I encourage a police presence at major crossings because I believe that enforcement is the only thing that some people recognize. Drivers must give the teachers, children, crossing guards and bus drivers the room and the courtesy necessary to properly get traffic into and out of the schools. Yes, children play a part in this too, and that is to do what they are told in and around a crossing. I leave you with this; get ready for the third.