With all members in attendance, the Tyrone School Board held their public regular session on Tuesday where the discussion concerning safety on Clay Avenue, as well as the need for additional crossing guards throughout the Borough, was brought back to the floor via public comment.
Tyrone Borough Council member Terry Richardson, taking the floor during the meeting’s public input, expressed his continued concern for the children’s safety walking to and from school due to what Richardson believes to be a severe lack of crossing guards. “I’m here not to chastise or blame anyone — I’m here for answers.”
The questions Richardson posed to the board surrounded his observation of children crossing major intersections in the district without supervision. “I have three grandsons that go to this school, and I watched a car go around a school bus with their [stop sign] out. The school’s responsibility is for the kids’ education and safety.” Expounding on this point, Richardson stated that, according to his observations, only “three crossing guards, besides Clay Avenue” have been sighted at major intersections, leaving Logan Avenue, Park Avenue, Washington Avenue, and Lincoln Avenue without coverage.
Superintendent Cathy Harlow shared her interest in “revisiting” this issue, as the decision to reduce the number of crossing guards was made back in 2009, which Harlow stated was “before my time.” The intersections that used to have crossing guard coverage prior to this change were Logan and 15th, Logan and Cottage, Logan and 12th, Lincoln and 13th, Blair and 13th, Columbia and 18th, with the change being suggested by law enforcement, in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, to the school board in 2009, saying the coverage was more than necessary [at the time]. At present, the school district provides three crossing guards in town (in addition to Clay Ave) on the 6th and Washington, 13th and Columbia, 15th and Hamilton intersections.
In regards to the safety concerns on Clay Avenue, Harlow said that “we have already met [in January of this year] with PennDOT to get additional flashing signs here on Clay Avenue, because there is a large distance between the two [existing signs].” Requests such as these can typically take upwards of six months, with Clay Avenue being a state road and not under either the borough of Tyrone or Snyder township’s jurisdiction. A recent ordinance passed by the borough that enables Tyrone Police involvement in enforcing traffic laws on Clay Avenue was also brought up as a positive step in the right direction by Richardson.
The question of radio communication and the concern that crossing guards may not currently have radios to call in any potential emergencies was also addressed. Harlow assured that all crossing guards have access to radios. “Officer Bob has them available in his office, so [the crossing guards] have been made aware of that, if they would like a radio.” When asked how they were to communicate emergencies if radios are not mandatory, Harlow referenced the crossing guards’ cell phones, which, especially on smart phones, have an emergency call button accessible without opening the phone, making it a convenient/ expedient method of contacting authorities.