New protocols for CHS students crossing Mendon Road

New protocols for CHS students crossing Mendon Road

CUMBERLAND – Cumberland High School students won't be forced to start using the pedestrian bridge over Mendon Road instead of the nearby crosswalks, but there will be new protocols for who is allowed to cross and how they're able to do it.

Mayor Jeff Mutter said he's conferred with Chief of Police John Desmarais and school officials and all have agreed that a school resource officer or some other existing staff member from the School Department will be posted at the crosswalk during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal times.

“We're going to be changing some of the protocols,” he said. “There needs to be somebody there.”

The School Department has to partner in the situation, said Mutter, adding that school officials will be responsible for any and all consequences for students. Police will not be ticketing students for jaywalking, a practice used at times in the past, as that only penalizes families by making them have to take time out of work to pay the fines, he said.

The school staff member, he said, will make sure students bunch together in groups of 25 or more before stopping traffic to let them cross. Part of the issue over the years has been students walking two by two or in smaller groups to their parked cars, stopping traffic on the busy roadway for lengthy periods of time during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal times, he said.

The idea in discussions with school officials, he said, is that students would lose their driving privileges at the Drop Zone lot across the street from CHS if they didn't follow the protocols of walking in groups and not running across the roadway outside of the crosswalk. School officials have been asked to clearly delineate who is allowed and not allowed to park at the lot, he said.

To help discourage jaywalking from the old Drop Zone parking lot to the high school property across Mendon Road, it's important to keep the path that goes from the crosswalk to the school clear, Mutter emphasized.

The mayor said his top priority over any other concern is to make sure students get to school safely.

“My number one thing, obviously, is the safety of the students parking, crossing and accessing the campus,” he said.

The 2016 deal where town and school officials got students to agree to use the crosswalks instead of jaywalking will be maintained, he said. Students will not be forced to use the 1970s pedestrian bridge, which many students say is in an inconvenient spot for getting to their cars from the high school.

Comments

This seems like a good solution.

Most of the delays I have been caught in were the results of the patrol officer letting many cars out of the lot at the same time. Most of the students are using the crosswalks in a respectful manner and not "strangling" as the article suggests.

I have never seen such a mountain out of a molehill situation....and charging someone with jaywalking when they are INSIDE of a crosswalk is just plain idiotic....unless I read it wrong. Anyhow....just have timed periods when they can walk across, with a traffic guard, inside the crosswalk, and let it be the end of it. This seems like it'll continue into the next century, LOL.

Sadly, the students win again at this issue. I went through there again today and not only did the students cross Mendon Rd., but the traffic again was held up for the same students to exit onto Mendon Rd. I still say, bring back the privilege of parking at Tucker Field. Sad how the traffic is affected as long as it is. Back in my school days, what the school said was what we had to abide by and for our own safety. Hence the construction of the pedestrian bridge and the parking at Tucker Field.