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OUR VIEW: Something has to be done

It was alarming last week to hear that two students from LaGrange High School were hit by vehicles that were turning from the Granger Park area.

That portion of North Greenwood Street is very busy, especially when you consider the number of people visiting the area to enjoy The Thread, play tennis or visiting the Granger Park playground. That’s on top of more than a thousand students who attend classes every day at LaGrange High School.

Both students are OK, but both sustained injuries and needed medical treatment. We’re thankful these situations weren’t much worse, as they easily could’ve been, but both should be a major wake up call for the school system and city officials. 

To state the obvious, something needs to be done in that area to make the crossing safer for students and to prevent this from ever happening again.

We think the response is going to require more than one step. It’s not as simple as just putting a full-time crossing guard out there, though that’s a good idea that would drastically make the area safer.

The students who were hit were both walking in crosswalks when they were hit by vehicles, whose drivers apparently weren’t paying attention at the light and didn’t see them.

A crossing guard will help, but there also needs to be a public awareness campaign to remind motorists to slow down around school zones. LHS is unique in the way it’s positioned across a busy road from where students park, but this could still happen anywhere.

And although neither student in these incidents was in the wrong, an awareness campaign for students is important as well. Regardless of age, we’re all probably guilty of walking across a parking lot or road while looking down at our phone, but it’s extremely dangerous. Students need to be aware of their surroundings, especially considering that two of their classmates have already been hit by vehicles. That also means not rushing across the street at the very last second when the signal is changing.  Reminding students of roadway dangers can only help avoid further accidents in the future.

At the same time, even if students are distracted, drivers need to take responsibility for the vehicles they are driving.

Nowhere you are driving is important enough to carelessly fly through a school zone, putting countless lives in danger.

Do your part and slow down in school zones.  This is a very important issue that everyone should take seriously.