Parents Rally For Safer Crosswalks

By: Liz Tedone
By: Liz Tedone

Knoxville (WVLT) - School speed limit signs are being installed at an Oak Ridge intersection this week. The signs have been in the works for months, but come just days after 12-year-old Ashley Paine was killed at that site.

WVLT Volunteer TV's Liz Tedone has details.

The speed limit signs with yellow caution beacons will be in operation Monday, November 19th at the intersection near Robertsville Middle School.

They stand covered in black plastic bags, a sign of safety to come and mourning for what's happened here. The new school speed limit signs on Illinois Avenue will be operating Monday morning, a little more than a week after Ashley Paine's fatal accident. Weeks ago, Donna Jarrett applied to be a crossing guard near Robertsville Middle School. Upon hearing the news of Ashley's death last Friday, she wondered what was taking so long with her application.

"I was a little surprised because I didn't really think there would be a lot of people applying for the job. This just happens to be convenient for me right now," Jarrett said.

Donna was called Wednesday by the Oak Ridge Police Department, she could be one of several crossing guards requested by the school system earlier in the year.

In Knox County, Halls teenager Bert Weaver was riding his bike to a football game during non-school hours when he was struck and killed in early September. Now more flashing lights and more power will be given to Knox County schools to use those lights for special events like games and practices.

"I don't have a bus for my kids, and I have to take them to school, and I feel like it's too much to expect kids to walk or ride a bicycle in that kind of an area," Bert's mother, Donna Weaver, said.

Federal funding in 2005 started the Safe Route to Schools campaign.

"And that's about working with individual schools to apply for funding to make the school environment safer for children to walk and bicycle," transportation planner Ellen Zavisca said.

As generations before them walked to school, are these lives lost a sign of changing times?

Again, the school speed limit signs with flashing beacons had been in the works for months in Oak Ridge.


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