Crossing guard station near Farnsworth School eliminated
by BRIAN NADIG
The Office of Emergency Management and Communications has eliminated the crossing guard station near Farnsworth School at Central and Bryn Mawr avenues.
Yvette Sanchez, an 18-year crossing guard veteran, recently posted the following on social media:
"OEMC did a count at my crossing of students, and unfortunately I didn’t have enough students. They had counted 17 kids. OEMC said it wasn’t enough kids, and they closed my crossing.
"I tried to explain to them that the intersection is very busy. I explained that we had the CTA (Forest Glen bus) garage, student drivers taking the exam, practicing their driving skills and large semi-trucks passing my intersection, but they said that the corner doesn’t need a crossing guard there."
On the day of the count fewer children than normal crossed because they stayed to play after school due to the nice weather, said Sanchez, who will be reassigned. She had been posted at the signalized Central-Bryn Mawr intersection for 6 years.
OMEC spokesman Melissa Stratton said that the city standard for crossing guard stations typically requires at least 25 children compared to the national standard of around 40 children.
A crossing guard will remain stationed at Balmoral and Central avenues, which is two blocks south of the Central-Bryn Mawr intersection, Stratton said.
A guard was temporarily assigned to the Central-Elston intersection last school year, but there are no plans to make the position permanent, Sanchez said.
Farnsworth principal Barbara Ellen Oken said that families living in Indian Woods have petitioned to get a crossing guard at intersection, as children from that community must cross Elston to get to Farnsworth, 5414 N. Linder Ave. She said that many of those parents will not let their children walk to school unless there is a guard at the busy intersection.
In a related matter, the installation of pedestrian bump-outs, which are curb extensions that shorten the distance of a crosswalk, has been sought for Central at Balmoral. However, the bump-outs would prevent the parking lane from being used as a traffic lane during rush hour, and the city Department of Transportation would not approve the project.