KINGSTON — A crosswalk directly in front of the Chester Street Middle School was removed last week, raising concerns about student safety from one parent.
Carol Skrip, whose daughter attends the middle school, said she recently complained to Kingston officials about the lack of a crossing guard when school is dismissed. Days after she voiced her concerns, she discovered Friday that the white lines of the crosswalk were covered with black paint.
“You have children walking in between and in front of buses,” Skrip said. “I’ve seen a lot of near misses with cars coming close to hitting children. It makes me very nervous that there isn’t a crossing guard there and now the crosswalk was painted over.”
Kingston Administrator Paul Keating said he ordered the municipality’s Department of Public Works to paint over the white lines because the crosswalk was illegal and he did not want Kingston to be liable if an accident occurred.
On Monday, a warning sign was placed in the middle of Chester Street.
“There has never been a crossing guard at the location in the 17 1/2 years I’ve been administrator of Kingston,” Keating said. “As far back when I attended the school, there was never a crossing guard.”
He said the crosswalk was illegal because it was in the middle of Chester Street, a one-way from Wyoming Avenue to North Welles Street. A crosswalk on Osceola Avenue where it meets Chester Street was not painted.
“I ordered our DPW to remove the lines,” Keating said. “It was considered a mid-block cross walk. There are no stop signs there; it would never meet the requirements of a crosswalk.”
Keating said Chester Street does not receive a high volume of traffic, noting most of the traffic is from residents living in the immediate area and parents dropping off and picking up children at the school.
But Skrip maintained “it’s a hazardous situation” when students are dismissed from school.
“It was the main crosswalk directly in front of the school. When buses are parked on the side of the street picking up children, the kids who are walkers are walking in between buses and across traffic. These children are crossing unsafely,” she said.
Skrip said parents picking up children are parking next to buses, causing another concern.
“There is nothing there to provide any safety,” she said. “It makes me tense. It affects the children who don’t have parents to pick them up.”
Keating said that for students to walk safely across the street, there are crosswalks at nearby intersections with stop signs.