JOHNSTOWN, OH (WCMH) — Most children are taught to always use the crosswalk when crossing the street, but some parents in Johnstown said that’s not even an option for their kids.
There is no stoplight or crosswalk at the busy intersection leading to the new Johnstown Elementary School.
Many parents said they’re worried about their kids safely getting to the school. The district and city said a stoplight and crosswalk at State Route 37 and Leafy Dell Road just isn’t in the budget.
On the first day of classes at the new Johnstown Elementary School, Joe Wilson put on a neon yellow traffic vest and stood on State Route 37 at Leafy Dell Road to help children cross the street.
Wilson, whose daughter and stepdaughter are both in third grade, said he was a little concerned about the busy intersection, which doesn’t have a crosswalk or stoplight.
“As much as people are on phones and driving distracted, that’s really what the heart of the matter is,” Wilson said. “I don’t trust any crosswalk. Even if this thing had, you know, there was a proper crosswalk here, I would still help my daughter cross it.”
Worried mom Manginder Dhillon said she won’t let her kindergartener walk to the school alone even though they live nearby.
“I’m always scared. I never leave them alone and outside, because I’m scared,” said Dhillon.
Since construction started on the school, she said traffic has increased and cars drive too fast.
“Sometimes they don’t stop,” she said. “It’s near, but I’m scared.”
Johnstown only has six stoplights. Concerned citizens want a seventh one at the intersection leading to the school. Johnstown said for that and new crosswalks it will cost $400,000. The village said they don’t have the money.
Johnstown Village Manager Jim Lenner said he understands why people are frustrated.
“We want everyone to be safe, like I said if we had a check we would be cashing it right now and putting that thing in so it’s not we don’t care, it’s not that the school district doesn’t care, we’re trying to figure it out,” said Lenner.
The district superintendent wasn’t able to go on camera. He said the school district has given the village $120,000 towards the project. Lenner said the village is now working to secure grant money to fund the rest or borrow to get the job done.
“It’s a funding issue. It comes down to no one wants to not have this in there, everybody wants to have it in there. It comes down to the ability to pay for it,” said Lenner.