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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Crossing Guard "Above the Law?"

     Civilian school crossing guards provide a vital service to the community on a daily basis.  Directing traffic on a school crossing post with no school children crossing is not vital.

*In this video, the crossing guard in front of Edison Intermediate School can be seen directing traffic at his school crossing guard post at 2:40 pm today, 5 minutes before the end of the school day.
*There are no pedestrians crossing in any direction.....not across Rahway Ave. or Grove St.  In fact, students are still in school.
*The crossing guard is directing motor vehicles through the STOP sign controlling the intersection while vehicles travelling along Rahway Ave. are stopped.
*The video is shot from the last car in line (third car in line).
*Rahway Ave. has the right of way and Grove St. traffic must yield the right of way absent a police officer authorized to direct traffic through a STOP sign.
*When the driver of the vehicle stops for the STOP sign, the crossing guard continues to wave the motorist through until the crossing guard walks towards the driver side of the stopped vehicle, out of camera range, to tell the driver to go.  When the driver stated that the cars on Rahway Ave. have the right of way, the crossing guard stated. "Not with this sign in my hand" referring to a hand held STOP sign used to stop traffic to safely cross pedestrians.
     Not willing to break the law that mandates motorists yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles in the absence of a police officer directing traffic or an official response from town officials authorizing civilian crossing guards to direct vehicular traffic, the motorist waits until it is safe to make a left turn onto Rahway Ave. By then, the frustrated civilian crossing guard returns to the curb, thankfully for his own safety and the safety of the motoring public.

     TFoTM asks:
     Why is a civilian crossing guard standing in the middle of Rahway Ave. playing traffic cop when there are no pedestrians crossing the roadway?
     Who gives civilian crossing guards the authority to direct motor vehicles through a STOP sign?

Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan
Councilman Keith Loughlin
     This intersection was the scene of an accident on 12-20-12 where two children were struck by a motor vehicle while the crossing guard was directing traffic.  
     Repeated calls over the past year to Westfield Police Traffic Safety Sergeant    Jason McErlean have not been returned.  
     Emails sent to town officials including the Westfield Police Chief, Mayor Skibitsky and Town Administrator Jim Gildea have gone unanswered.
     Westfield Town Council Public Safety Chairwoman JoAnn Neylan and Co-Chairman Keith Loughlin have failed to respond to simple questions regarding civilian crossing guards directing motor vehicle traffic in a law enforcement manner.


Click on the following internet links to read related stories on this potential pedestrian/traffic safety issue previously brought to the attention of town officials.


  1. So when the firemen stop traffic on North Avenue while backing in the fire trucks, they are violating the law?

    1. No they are not violating the law. The emergency lights activated on top of the fire truck backing up into the firehouse is what mandates that traffic come to a stop. Also, the fire fighter in the roadway assisting the fire truck with it's emergency lights activated is not waving motorists through a traffic signal controlling traffic.
      Much like the civilian crossing guard crossing pedestrians, the firefighter shall pick a gap in traffic to safely assist the fire truck with it's emergency lights activated, crossing North Ave. while backing into the firehouse just like a civilian crossing guard may pick a gap in vehicular traffic to safely cross pedestrians. In either case, neither is to remain in the roadway to direct traffic once the job is done.
      A civilian crossing guard or a firefighter is not a traffic or police officer given the authority to remain in a roadway and direct traffic in a law enforcement manner.

      The two New Jersey state statutes listed below may apply and might clarify what is legal and what is not.

      a39:4-91. Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle
      39:4-91 Right of way of emergency vehicles; liability of drivers.

      39:4-91. a. The driver of a vehicle upon a highway shall yield the right of way to any authorized emergency vehicle when it is operated on official business, or in the exercise of the driver's profession or calling, in response to an emergency call or in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law and when an audible signal by bell, siren, exhaust whistle or other means is sounded from the authorized emergency vehicle and when the authorized emergency vehicle, except a police vehicle, is equipped with at least one lighted lamp displaying a red light visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front of the vehicle.

      39:4-144. Stopping or yielding right of way before entering stop or yield intersections

      No driver of a vehicle or street car shall enter upon or cross an intersecting street marked with a "stop" sign unless he has first brought his vehicle or street car to a complete stop at a point within 5 feet of the nearest crosswalk or stop line marked upon the pavement at the near side of the intersecting street and shall proceed only after yielding the right of way to all traffic on the intersecting street which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No driver of a vehicle or street car shall enter upon or cross an intersecting street marked with a "yield right of way" sign without first slowing to a reasonable speed for existing conditions and visibility, stopping if necessary, and the driver shall yield the right of way to all traffic on the intersecting street which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard; unless, in either case, he is otherwise directed to proceed by a traffic or police officer or traffic control signal, or as provided in section 39:4-145 of this Title.
      Amended by L.1956, c. 107, p. 486, s. 5; L.1958, c. 114, p. 588, s. 4.

  2. Dear Greg,

    Perhaps you should change the name of your blog to the Don Quixote De La Mancha Chronicles..... after all every topic of controversy that comes along ie the Light of Death on Central Ave., illegal activities being ignored by the police brass and Mayor, is just another windmill that you and Rocinante run full steam into. I applaud you for your steadfast and professional stance that you have shown throughout the life of this blog site. Keep up the good work, and you and your family have a healthy and happy 2013....quick question who is your Sancho Panza??????
    FYI.....I have changed the name of the bookmark for you site in my computer to the aforementioned title......

    PS.....see if you know how this have 24 hours from the time of publication to call me......good luck

    1. The clock is ticking....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Hey all...if I didnt call Greg he would never have known.......

  3. The town council and police won't answer the questions because they know they can't justify these crossing guards directing traffic.

  4. Hey here is a thought....why not pull those meter people from the center of town for a couple of hours a day and put them in the posts that need the most attention....Edison Jr. High and Rahway and Dorian.....didnt they direct traffic before...????

  5. someone teach Greg when to use its vs. it's. I can't stand it's anymore.

    1. Its/it's obvious it hasn't stopped you from logging onto TFoTM.