Neighborhood getting school crossing guards after expressing safety concerns

Maplewood Elementary School
Maplewood Elementary School

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An East Austin elementary school is getting three paid school crossing guards from the city of Austin.

KXAN visited Maplewood Elementary School a week and a half ago to observe students walking home after the final bell rang. Neighborhood parents had expressed concerns about the heavy traffic and unsafe conditions, which include a train track close by used by Metro Rail.

A few days later, Herschell Esquell with the city’s Safe Routes to School Program told KXAN the move is warranted after he checked out the situation himself.

He said the challenge now is finding three qualified applicants to fill the spots. So far one person has expressed interest.

If the campus did not qualify for paid crossing guards, the city was planning on training volunteers to do the job.

Parents said Maplewood used volunteer crossing guards in the past, but did not see anyone helping students cross the street the first week of school.

Esquell said when his office evaluates a location to see if a crossing guard is needed, they look at several factors including:

  • Number of pedestrians crossing
  • Number of children crossing without an adult
  • Proximity to the school
  • Traffic volume
  • Traffic speed
  • Approach visibility
  • Surrounding community
  • Accident History

There is always a need for more school crossing guards. Anyone interested can contact Herschell Esquell at 512-974-9321.

Click here to see KXAN’s original story on the crossing guard situation at Maplewood Elementary (aired August 26, 2015).

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