By Skyler Ashley
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter
DEWITT — A new proposal is in the works to increase the safety of DeWitt School District students on Herbison Road.
Herbison is the road the DeWitt Junior High School’s entrance lies on; the concern raises from a lack of a crosswalk that student’s have immediate access too.The nearest crosswalk is relatively close on the left, but Dave Hunsaker of DeWitt Area Recreation Authority worries that certain students will not take the time to walk the extra distance.
“They don’t take the time, because they’re kids.” said Hunsaker, who is also a member of the DeWitt City Council. The issue was discussed during the council’s Nov. 10 meeting.
Hunsaker said that the idea has been floating around the City Council for years, but a recent incident at the Lansing School District has brought the issue back.
While walking to school, a Waverly High School ninth-grader was killed after being struck by a car while crossing the street on her way to school.
The issue is making sure this never happens in DeWitt.
“These kids are shooting across at that busy time frame in heavy traffic, similar to where the young child was killed two weeks ago,” Hunsaker said.
Problems arise given that Herbison is a Clinton County road, and the City of DeWitt does not necessarily have complete jurisdiction even though it goes by their schools.
“We can’t mandate, we don’t have control over what the county does with that road,” Hunsaker said.
What Hunsaker suggests is that DeWitt offers to foot the bill for any improvements, which will make it easier for the city to get what it wants — in this case, a crosswalk with traffic control.
All current plans are tentative and require cooperation between DeWitt Township, the City of DeWitt and Clinton County.
Keith Cravotta, DeWitt Junior High School’s principal showed support for the idea.
“I think cross walks could always be a good idea and having them visible to the community is a good thing,” Cravotta said.
However, Cravotta didn’t think the current state of Herbison Road was necessarily a critical threat to students, “we know that’s happened at times [students jaywalking] and we try to monitor it. Certainly I can see where that’s been an issue.”
When told of Hunsaker’s idea, Cravotta said it’s something he’d “definitely be interested in seeing.”
DeWitt locals had other opinions.
Kelly Smith, Owner of Scoopy-Doo’s, was also supportive.
Smith mentioned she herself is the mother of an eighth-grader at DeWitt Junior High.
“Something right in the area would make a lot of sense,” Smith added.
Smith also suggested that the city should be “cautionary” regarding students walking in droves to the nearby shopping center and library on Schavey Road.
Emily Frushour expressed a different opinion.
“I don’t think Herbison [is unsafe] people do a good job of obeying the speed limit. Everybody knows it’s a school zone, it’s posted.”
Despite not being overtly concerned, Frushour is not opposed to beefing up safety.
Time will tell what advancements are made regarding Herbison Road.