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Friday, December 21, 2012

Councilwoman Neylan: Please Answer The Unanswered

JoAnn Neylan
1.  When will Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan, chair of the public safety, transportation, and parking committee, be addressing the recent pedestrian accident in front of Edison Intermediate school? 
2.  Why are crossing guards directing traffic in a "law enforcement manner?" 
3.  Are crossing guards directing traffic because Mayor Skibitsky and the town council have reduced public safety personnel by 20%? 
4.  Who authorized civilian crossing guards to direct traffic at their school crossing posts?

**When the Mayor and town council reduce public safety personnel by 20%, there is naturally going to be a reduction in public safety. 
**Just another example of how Mayor Skibitsky's cliche' "We are doing more with less" has failed the taxpayer.  In the case of the accident in front of Edison, the reduction in public safety has jeopardized the safeguarding of our children.

See related TFoTM story posted in August of this year before school was in session.  THE WARNING WAS THERE. Click on the following link to read:

The primary responsibility of an adult school crossing guard is to help children safely cross the street as they walk or bicycle to and from school.
A well-trained adult school crossing guard can help to accomplish the following goals:

• Discourage children from behaving unsafely near traffic, such as darting into the street without looking or crossing against a traffic signal.A guard can encourage safe behavior by all pedestrians at the school crossing.
• Use existing gaps in traffic to help students cross safely.When the natural traffic flow does not allow enough time for children to safely cross a street, a guard may need to create gaps by stopping traffic temporarily.The guard stops traffic with hand signals or a STOP paddle, then verbally directs children to cross the street.A guard is always the first person in the street and the last person out of the street.
• Alert motorists that pedestrians are in the process of using the school crossing.
• Observe and report any incidents or conditions that present a potential safety hazard to the school children or the guard.
An adult school crossing guard should not direct traffic unless specifically trained as a traffic control officer.


  1. TFOTM- I agree with your opinions/articles the vast majority of the time. However, on this one, I disagree in part. While I can't speak about all of our town's school crossing guards, I can say that I, and many others I know, think that the ones on Rahway Avenue do an AMAZING job. I see no reason to think any police officer (at higher pay rate) would/could do any better. Now, as for whether or not they are "legally" allowed to stop traffic, that's another issue to which I have no answer. But, given a choice of having these particular school crossing guards on Rahway Ave. or a random police officer (who is more likely to be worse, in my opinion, simply because these guys are so good) or keeping these school crossing guards, I'd stick with these.

    1. Westfield Traffic Safety Bureau Sgt. Jason McErlean can answer the question but has refused to answer citing an order from his chief if police. I'm sure that the Mayor and members of the town council can obtain the answer.

    2. The Westfield police department has Auxillary Police that supplement the parking division of the department earning far less than a full-time police officer. On any given day these officers can be seen writing tickets around town. Crossing guards earn an hourly rate of $20 an hour last time I checked. I can't imagine that the profits gained by an Auxillary officer writing parking tickets during the time period in the morning and in the afternoon when traffic directing at Edison is needed outweighs the safeguarding of our school children crossing the street. Title 40 gives officers the authority to direct traffic as does the MUTCD; it does not give civilian crossing guards the authority to do so. While I will admit that the crossing guard does an amazing job at Edison and that the accident on Thursday may be an isolated one, his job is to cross pedestrians, not directing traffic. One way to alleviate the dangers of congestion at this location is to turn Grove St into a one way between Rahway Ave and Westfield Ave during school crossing hours. Allow only right turns off of Rahway Ave onto Grove St and no left turns. It is done in other towns for safety reasons. Auxillary officer Miller does a great job at Dorian and Rahway. There is no reason why other trained officers can't man the post at Edison.

  2. Nobody is allowed to speak without the almighty Zod's permission. McErlean is afraid Wayman will transfer him back to patrol.

  3. Shreck should be more concerned about staying out of aisle 5 at Stop & Shop.