Volunteer crossing guard program for Mountain Avenue

By Amber McIver-Traywick

The Surveyor

Volunteers are needed to help with a joint effort between the Berthoud police squad and town residents for the safety of local students. A new volunteer crossing guard effort will soon be rolling out on Mountain Avenue with the possibility of expanding to other busy school crossings.

Concerned community members raised the issue of student safety crossing streets at a recent Coffee with a Cop meeting at Da Bean coffee shop. The meetings are an initiative brought into action by Sergeant Jim Anderson to connect local law enforcement with community members to hear concerns, and find solutions, for issues in the town. These concerns echoed the observations of the Berthoud police squad. With ever increasing traffic flow in town, and many students walking to and from school, a proactive approach was decided on.

Heidi Short, a longtime Berthoud resident and current Historic Preservation Advisory Committee chairman for the Town of Berthoud, regularly attends the Coffee with a Cop gatherings and showed an interest in heading up the effort, “The fact that ( Anderson) expressed that there was a problem and I’ve seen it too with the traffic …I had no problem taking that on.” Short has previous experience working as a school crossing guard in a heavily trafficked area of Longmont.

With the school district already experiencing funding shortages, the program will have to be run on a voluntary basis. “I did not get any help from the school district for Mountain and Ninth Street. I knew Heidi Short ran the crossing guard program in Longmont, so I have asked her to create a volunteer program,” Anderson said in an email about the effort. Ivy Stockwell Elementary currently has the only crossing guard provided by the district.

Short will soon begin working the intersection at Mountain Avenue and Ninth Street, before and after school, to get a better understanding of what is needed and to get drivers and students accustomed to a crossing guard’s presence. The Berthoud police squad will be providing the equipment to the volunteers and Short will provide training. “I’ll show them how to do their job, they’ll get instruction on how to do things and how to react to certain situations,” she said.

The effort is in addition to the installation earlier this year of a flashing school-zone sign installed near the high school on Spartan Avenue and a push-button pedestrian-activated cross walk on Eighth Street, where many students walk to and from school, to help increase student safety.

Short said volunteers will ideally be able to commit to the full school year, rotating days of the week, but is also looking for backups who are available on short notice. If you are interested in participating or have questions about the crossing guard program contact Heidi Short at heishort@gmail.com or by calling 970-532-1167.

 

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