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Pedestrian Safety a Concern at High School, Parent Says

Resident urges monitoring of crosswalks after a 14-year-old was hit by a car Thursday.

For many, there seems to be a consensus that a police officer is needed to aid pedestrians in crossing the street outside the high school.

After a 14-year-old girl was hit by a 17-year-old driver as she crossed the street in a crosswalk from the Bridgewater YMCA to the Bridgewater-Raritan High School Thursday morning, one parent spoke to the township council to encourage the addition of a police officer before and after school.

"We are fortunate this time that the girl was not seriously injured," said Garretson Road resident Maria Cermenaro. "I am hoping to urge the police to take another look at this."

Cermenaro said there was a study done in 2005 concerning the possible need for a police officer to direct traffic and aid students heading to school in the morning, and it found that an officer was not necessary.

At the time, Cermenaro said, a traffic engineering circulation study was performed by Gary Dean Associates, and it led to the installation of blinking lights at either end of the school zone and a pedestrian activated blinking light at the YMCA crosswalk, among other updates.

But, Cermenaro said, it determined that an officer or crossing guard was not necessary, and she said police have said they believe 14- to 17-year-olds don't need an officer to direct them.

"Police have cited age in the past as a reason why a cop is not needed," she said. "But I have been in the crosswalk and almost run over by drivers not yielding. I don't think age is the issue."

Cermenaro said a speed study was done, and traffic was observed, and they found that no one passed a school bus or failed to yield to a pedestrian during the days the study was conducted.

The council said Thursday they would request the police take another look at the possibility of having an officer manning the crosswalk before and after school.

"The traffic is horrendous and improvements have not resolved it," Cermenaro said. "I'm hoping to urge police to take another look at it."

Jennifer Cerrat September 28, 2012 at 12:52 PM
I recently attended the back to school night at the high school where it was announced that BRRHS has reached 3000 students. If the study was conducted seven years ago, it seems the issue needs to be revisited based on the sheer volume of student body increase alone. I live on Garretson as well and cross with my kids every morning. We have almost been hit on numerous occasions in the past four weeks. We have to cross between newly-licensed drivers, dozens and dozens of busses, a non-stop stream of children being driven to school and the regular traffic on that road. It is complete chaos from 6:45 to 7:20 a.m. I would never let my children cross alone. Crossing guards or timed traffic lights need to be positioned at various stations along Garretson Road since we are not eligible for busing.
denise September 28, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Having a crossing guard or polce officer is the least that the school/town can do!
MLB September 28, 2012 at 01:57 PM
I saw a student hit by a car last year. The driver was exiting after dropping his child at the school. He didn't notice the student in the crosswalk. She was not harmed but bumped by the car (and rightfully extremely angry). We really need crossing guards at both ends of the school driveway.
BridgewaterMommy September 28, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Traffic would be reduced if more students took the bus. I understand that some students must walk, as they live close to the school, but I do not understand why some parents whose children could be bussed choose to drive them EVERY DAY. Busing increases safety for all concerned. It is also better for the environment.
BR Resident September 28, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Maybe instead of spending over $2 million dollars on a crosswalk over Rt 202/206 so you can get to somerville from a shopping center, they should have invested it into elevated crosswalks, traffic lights or crossing guards at the HS! And agree - way too many kids get dropped off at school every morning simply because they don't want to take the bus.
think08807 September 28, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Common sense goes a long way. Paying a police officer to stand directing traffic in an area where all individuals should be on high alert is overkill. Did the pedestrian and drive make eye contact? Did the pedestrian dart out or was she in the crosswalk? Was the driver speeding(almost impossible that time of morning). Was the driver REALLY paying attention. I am pretty sure the community is well aware of the traffic here in the morning...extra caution is required not a policeman.
BwaterDad September 28, 2012 at 11:22 PM
think, if "common sense" and "extra caution" were sufficient, this would not have happened and we would not be discussing it. I have been there in the morning several times when my kids were in HS, enough to see that this was an accident waiting to happen. But it's no longer waiting.

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