Crossing the street with aid of crossing guard

Crossing guard Casten Mansfield stops traffic on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive-Truck Route to allow students to cross the street after school Friday.

Why did the student cross the street? To get to the school on the other side.

The problem is that sometimes students don’t always get to cross at the safest location.

Crossett Councilwoman Crystal Marshall has been advocating that students who walk to school in Crossett be given more options to cross the street safely in recent weeks.

“It’s a real everyday safety issue, and one kid getting hit because we kick the can down the road is not worth it,” she said.

Marshall took her concerns to her peers on the Crossett City Council last week, and the council has taken the first step to make drivers in the areas where students typically cross the street more conscious of young pedestrians.

Crossing in the area around the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. and Petersburg drives can prove particularly hairy for walkers and drivers alike.

Crossing Guard Casten Mansfield works on the truck route side of the school. He said many drivers don’t pay attention to the school zone speed limit signs.

“They barely pay attention to the stop sign,” he said.

One of the ways Marshall sought to rectify the situation was to take the issue to the Crossett School District and ask for an additional crossing guard.

Superintendent Gary Williams agreed to do so, she said.

Marshall has also asked the council to consider purchasing flashing lights that could be added to existing signs.

The four lights would be placed on the intersections of Petersburg and Martin Luther King Drive, and Petersburg and Main Street.

The solar powered lights cost approximately $1,800 apiece, and Marshall said she has asked if the school district could contribute to the costs, but that Williams told her he was not sure it was an expense the school district was allowed to take on.

The council has voted to purchase the lights, but will need approval from the Arkansas Department of Transportation before they can be mounted since the intersection of Petersburg and Martin Luther King Jr. drives is a state truck route.

Until then, students and crossing guards alike are going to have to trust that drivers pay attention to the signs on the side of the road.

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