County, city working together to put crosswalk at Franklin Heights HS

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Safety is an important part when designing any school. But according to one retired School Resource Officer, one Columbus school is lacking a crucial feature–a crosswalk.

It’s happening at Franklin Heights High School in the Southwestern city school district where Scott Tipton served as a school resource officer for more than two years. He’s been fighting for a crosswalk there since he first got the job.

Tipton worked for the Franklin County Sheriff’s office for several years, and has been in law enforcement for most of his career before becoming a school resource officer. He is now retired and no longer with the county.

“I could not honestly walk away from that school, and leave it undone,” Tipton said. He serves as a crossing guard at the school every day where he said signage and speeding are a problem.

“Some people don’t even know a school is there,” Tipton added.

Tipton contacted NBC4 to get help. We first went to the Southwestern City School district.

“We are not opposed to an additional crosswalk,” said Sandy Nekoloff with the district.

During our investigation, we obtained a 2013 traffic study that was done at the location before the school was built. The study lead to new signage and turning lanes, however does not mention anything about a potential new crosswalk.

“There are crosswalks on either end of the block that the school is located on,” Nekoloff said.

Those crosswalks are on Briggs and Clime roads, meaning the original study assumed children would walk nearly a half mile to simply cross the street.

Tipton calls the study unrealistic and outdated but the district said their hands are tied.

“It is just not our decision in this case,” Nekoloff said.

Turns out, Franklin Heights High school sits on a boundary between Franklin County and the city of Columbus. Each agency pointed at the other to paint a crosswalk.

Tipton is frustrated.

“I could go out there at 2 a.m. with a can of paint and paint a crosswalk, and that has crossed my mind,” Tipton said.

After NBC4 got involved and each agency learned of the situation, the entities will now work together.

“We will start the data collection process, some of that has already started,” Reynaldo Stargell with the city of Columbus traffic division said.

Over the next 90 days, the city will look at traffic speeds and pedestrian traffic and then make a decision.

“What it ends up being whether it’s a striped crosswalk with signing, or flashing lights with enhanced signing that would be determined through the study process,” Stargell added.

The crosswalk could be installed as early as this spring. Funds for the project would be internal and come from the city’s pavement marking budget.

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