By Dedra Cordle
It is a scene that has become all too familiar: A video shows a group of students preparing to cross the road to reach their school bus when a vehicle comes into view. Though the lights on the bus are flashing and its stop indicators have extended, the vehicles races by and narrowly misses hitting the children.
It is a problem that has occurred throughout the country as districts have opened its doors to a new school year and now one local community says it is dealing with the issue as well.
At the Sept. 10 village of Urbancrest council meeting, councilwoman Shawn Moore said there has been three reported incidents of motorists passes stopped buses within the month, one she has seen firsthand.
“I was at the bus stop with my granddaughter when I saw this black truck fly right by,” she said.
She added that all of the bus lights and gates were engaged but this motorists showed little concern for the children ready to enter the bus.
“It is very dangerous,” she said.
Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. asked where in the village these incidents were occurring and she replied that were taking place on First Avenue. Councilwoman Alicia Wiggins said she also heard that one took place on Central Avenue.
First and Central Avenues are main thoroughfares in the village. Not only are they populated residential roads but employees from nearby businesses often use them as a shortcut to access Broadway. In the past several years, council has taken a number of steps to reduce traffic and speeding issues along these streets. They include restricting access between the weekday hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and installing a speed capturing sign to establish trends for future enforcement purposes.
Moore said that with all they have done to lessen the vehicular dangers posed to its residents, she was disheartened to see some motorists continue to endanger lives by breaking bus passing laws.
“I would hate to see something happen to any of our kids,” she said.
She asked the street commissioner if they could purchase signs that bring awareness to the children in the area, such as ‘We Love Our Children’ signs.
Commissioner Edward Banks said they could purchase the signs but the problem will not stop unless there is enforcement.
“We need the police to come out here,” he said.
Moore agreed, saying it was imperative to ask them to step up patrols during these times.
Barnes suggested that when parents or grandparents take their kids to the bus stop, to bring a pen and paper with them to write down a detailed description of the vehicle and motorist. He then said to give the information to the school district or local law enforcement agencies for further investigation.