Proposed traffic signal

Dear Editor:Several neighbors surrounding East Middle School are pleading with city officials and our city council to reconsider their vote on installing a traffic singal in the small residential area surrounding EMS. We feel that a crossing guard at this intersection is needed. In city council minutes from Jan. 8, it was falsely recorded and voiced that a crossing guard is currentlyw orking at this intersection and is to remain here after the light is installed. There hasn't been a crossing guard here in decades. For a short time, there were teachers from EMS that were guiding the kids across the street, but it's been years since their presence. About five years ago, I called my city and asked for extra help for this crosswalk. As a mother of six and a school teacher, I am vested in the safety of our children. I was told that no additional traffic measures were warranted beyond what was currently in place, a stop sign exiting Via Amorita. Now to be told that an eyesore of a traffic signal will be planted on this mostly calm section of Woodruff has been upsetting to me and many of my neighbors. We are not a busy bustling section of Downey. We have no idea what is planned for our neighborhood's school routes. Sidewalks? Extra lanes on Woodruff to encompass the red light traffic? We have been kept in the dark on this very intrusive decision. Aside from the school's drop off/pick up times, this area is calm. We are 100% behind the school district's efforts to enhance student safety. We are stakeholders in our community that deserved the right to be notified so that we could have been a part of the solution to the ongoing traffic nightmare that has been invasive here for years. Let's take action, but why not in a way that is the least intrusive yet meaningful: a crossing guard. Currently, a crossing guard works just a block away at Florence and Woodruff where there are significantly less pedestrians crossing. We, too, need a physical person, not a machine to watch over our kids. It was stated that there have been "several" children hurt at this intersection. I'm not sure how accurate that is being that I've lived here 12 years and last year was the first incident I was aware of. That incident didn't occur in the crosswalk, it was on a side street where residents have long complained about the neglectful ways parents drop off their kids, letting them exit out of cars in the middle of the street. Anyone who drives through this section knows the facts: 1) no one is monitoring his "dangerous intersection" and 2) Parents drop off their kids haphazardly all up and down Woodruff and Via Amorita. I believe many of our schools encounter the same traffic morning nightmares and I can think of many better sites that this signal could've been placed, such as Gallatin and Brookshire. We need a crossing guard and flashing beacons overhanging the intersection that can blink during school peak hours. This is both a legally acceptable and a neighborhood-friendly way of putting kids' safety first and maintaining the integrity of this quaint small pocket of Downey. Hopefully our city officials will be open to our sensible request. Jennifer Alvarez Downey

********** Published: May 9, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 04