Residents concerned after New Smyrna Beach school crossing light, guard removed
Students cross 4-lane road to get to Chisholm Elementary School
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Andrew Allmand has lived on North Dixie Freeway in New Smyrna Beach for nine years and has always seen flashing lights and a crossing guard for students who attend Chisholm Elementary School; however, those safety measures have disappeared.
"There hasn't been any crossing guard and there's no light. No one's activating the light. It's dangerous," Allmand said, adding he doesn't have children but is concerned for parents and children as they cross four lanes of traffic.
"They dash across the street with cars going 40 mph, which is the speed limit, but you know people are going 50 mph," he said.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said the School Crossing Evaluation Committee -- which includes a VCSO representative, a Volusia County School Board representative and the county engineer -- recommended the removal of the crossing guard because of the low number of children crossing the street. Sometimes there are none at all. Their recommendation was submitted to the Florida Department of Transportation which had the final say. FDOT approved the recommendation on July 2017. There hasn't been a crossing guard or flashing lights since September 2017.
Jeffrey Wright's 6-year-old son is one of the kids who walks alone to school because both parents are working.
"I mean, you got cars going by here 50, 60 mph rushing to get to work in the morning and the same thing, rushing to get home in the afternoon," said Wright. "We don't have a crossing guard. Do I got to stand out here with an orange vest on and volunteer? Because I go out in the middle of the road and stop traffic every time. You can at least have the freaking flashing light up."
Officials with the Sheriff's Office said the light is manually controlled and without someone there to turn it on, it doesn't work. However, some residents said there should at least be a sign warning drivers.
"I still think something should be done for safety reasons. This issue needs to be resolved," said Allmand.
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