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Call to Action: Will it Take the Death of a Child You Know to Pay Attention?

More than ever, drivers are doing everything but driving and Bayside needs you to help local kids cross Brown Deer Road safely.

We've all done it - you're running late, so you're driving on auto-pilot, texting and realize long after you're through the intersection - there were blinking yellow lights and a child was standing there. 

Luckily, that 10-year-old little boy didn't misjudge traffic and try ot make a run for it because you were driving an auto-pilot and never would have seen him. And with the close-calls will only become more frequent. 

Will it take the death of a child you know to change your awareness?

So, instead of sitting on the sidelines, sadly, waiting to write about a child who has been hit by a car, I'm doing something. 

I'm partnering with Fox Point and Bayside parents to help kids cross safely. Regent Road and Pelham Parkway cross Brown Deer Road, and at those intersections, it's simply a deathtrap waiting to happen. as so many drivers obliviously blow through the intersections. 

The bottom line is we can't install traffic lights or stop signs. A footbridge is very expensive and the but seem to have reached the children more than the parents. 

So what can we do?

We can take action. Thursday morning I had the pleasure of meeting with three parents and two village officials who feel as strongly as I do about making a change. Currently, we're designing a long-term solution that will, hopefully, bring on paid crossing guards. But as this school year quickly approaches, we need your help now. 

We need volunteers to help with morning and afternoon crossing guard shifts. There's a crossing guard season, which means we only try to get volunteers to help during the times when most kids are walking and biking to school - which last year was through Nov. 1. There are no crossing guards on weekends and none when school is out. 

We will hold our next meeting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. If you can donate even one shift, or are interested in more information, check out our Facebook page, or reach out via email, or give me a call at 414-412-5561. 

Bewildered August 17, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Sarah, while I applaud your concern, I truly think you are blurring the line between reporting the news and making the news. As a journalist, you need to walk a fine line and it appears as if you crossing it by setting up a Facebook page and community meetings. This should be done by the community,not the press. While this is certainly a valid concern, perhaps first asking what is currently being done And informing officials of your concern would have been a better approach. ( pretty standard for a reporter).While I think you do great service to the North Shore and are a decent reporter, pls report, not make news.
Bewildered August 17, 2012 at 04:59 AM
I also think the headline is scare journalism at its worst. "death of a child ...to pay attention". Come on, just a little over the top, dontcha think? That's National Inquirer stuff. By the way,there has never been an accident involving pedistrians at this intersection. Not that it cant happen and that cars must slow down and obey crossinfg signs ( with flashing lites). Hopefully your editor wrote the headline, not you.
Fox Point Watch August 17, 2012 at 02:46 PM
This intersection needs an "on-demand" red light triggered by the pedestrians, not a baffling yellow light. Drivers don't know what that means. A red light will stop traffic, especially if a sign states STOP ON FLASHING RED. I have seen kids waiting indefinitely to cross on the flashing yellow, cars flying through with no concern. I once pulled my car in the intersection and stopped there to block the road and let a young bike rider cross. I am sure I could have received a ticket for that.
Rachael Ropel Herrenbruck August 17, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Sarah, You didn't make the news. You witnessed cars flying by you while you tried to help a kid to cross the street. I'm worried about that everyday too.
Sarah Worthman August 17, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Thanks for your comment, Bewildered. I did think about this prior to becoming involved and I appreciate you bringing this up. I did begin by asking what's currently done and have spoken with local officials, at length. You can find those stories here: http://foxpoint.patch.com/search?keywords=Crossing+Guards Just the other day, I stopped in the middle of the intersection after a small boy waited for dozens of cars to pass. I was driving a very large Chevy Tahoe and even though it took up the vast majority of the intersection, as the boy began to cross - THREE cars drove around my truck. That was appalling to me - flashing lights, a child on a bike and a huge truck and they still barreled through. Ultimately, while I am a reporter, I am also a Bayside resident and I most certainly report the facts, it was important to me to share my own thoughts on this issue after I had exhausted regular reporting avenues. To avoid any issues of bias, I put this in as an editorial.
Sarah Worthman August 17, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Thanks for the comment, Fox Point Watch. As you can see above, I had to do the same thing the other day. Please reach out if you'd have any time to help be a crossing guard. Even one shift would be helpful.
Kris August 17, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Sarah, I really appreciate your call to action. You have a right to an editorial as an editor, and that is how I read this. As a resident, you are correct to take steps to improve the community. Thank you!
Sarah Worthman August 17, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Thanks, Rachael and Kris. Think the two of you may be able to help as crossing guards? We need all the help we can get.
Kris August 17, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I cannot, unfortunately, because of my work/kid schedule. Wish I could!
Bewildered August 17, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Good answer. Not sure it was an editorial. Wasn't real clear, but I agree 100% re: the problem, but to be fair there has never been a pedestrian/vehicle accident at this intersection. Doesn't mean it's safe...it's not Only real solution is to get county to put up a stop light. Village has asked but keeps being denied due to low traffic counts. Village does not own Brown Deer Rd, county does so village can't do it themselves ( same is true for a stop light or stop sign at Port and Fairy Chasm intersection). Perhaps a citizen push to the county for a stop light. Contract the new County Aassemblywoman ( no longer Joe rice) and see if she will take up our cause. I do think your headline borders on sensationalism tho.
Jennifer Wiegers August 17, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Sarah. Great editorial and on behalf of the children thank you for your advocacy!
Bewildered August 18, 2012 at 02:59 AM
As stated above, Bayside can not put up a red light as it does not own Brown Deer rd, the County does. The Village has repeatedly requested the County put up a traffic light. The County has done traffic surveys and reported back to the Village that the traffic does not warrant a lite, or even a stop sign on Brown Deer ( this is all public record). If Bayside owned the road, they have said they would at the very least put a stop sign on Brown Deer. Time for citizen to get evolved convincing the county of the dangers and to put up astop light . Start a petition, call your new Assemblywoman ( where's Joe Rice when we need him? Redistricted out of a job) , email blast Abele.
Art Vandelay August 18, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Bewildered, Check your facts, E. Brown Deer Road at N. Regent Road is State Highway 32 meaning the area is controlled by the State of Wisconsin not the County of Milwaukee. Sarah, you should be praised for you community involvement. Instead of people complaining all of the time you are doing something to help solve the problems.
Bewildered August 19, 2012 at 12:59 PM
My mistake, you are right. Brown Deer road is a state road not county. In my comments, just replace county with state. The state DOT has turned down village requests for a stop light or stop sign. Contact Alberta

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