Dave Wallace: Lost priorities
As the dog days of summer taper off, much of the green grass is turning to a shade of brown. The smell of diesel exhaust is in the air, as we once again see the school busses warming up in the early morning hours.
The bus drivers are idling their units while testing the equipment safety systems. They are going through the pre-shift checks to make sure their brakes, lights, and horns, are all operating properly. These safety checks are not only mandatory, they are necessary to assure safe travel as our local bus drivers deliver the community children to and from school.
The bus drivers have a huge responsibility and are dedicated to transporting your children safely, never pass up the chance to wave at these drivers and thank them for the service they provide for the community. Even though many students are delivered to their schools either by parent or school bus, many continue to walk or bicycle.
The city has a responsibility to maintain safe travel ways for these children as well. Last year several sidewalks went through a state-initiated “Safe School Access Program,” where they were either improved or new ones installed with intentions to improve safety while students travel to and from their schools.
This is where my concerns lie. Even though the sidewalks have been installed, the crosswalk identification markings have not been maintained, some of these street crossing’s leading to and from the elementary and middle schools are nonexistent while others are partially or nearly completely rendered unidentifiable due to vehicle traffic over the last year.
This lack of responsibility and dedication to community safety should be a concern to all residents, especially those who have youngsters walking to and from school. I must question why this safety measure is not a priority, why were these crosswalks not repainted prior to the starting of the school year, and has community safety taken a back seat to economic development?
Regardless of where the city priorities are, I encourage all residents to be aware of the increased pedestrian traffic which will be present since the school year has started. Be aware of the school zones, please slow down, and avoid these high traffic areas during the beginning and end of the school day if possible, for this in itself will improve safety within our community.