Many students live within walking distance of Wilson Elementary School in Anderson Township, but crossing Little Dry Run Road has always been a concern. Thanks to a new crosswalk flag program, crossing is safer and more students are walking to school.
Parents worry about crossing
Austin and Alex Esinduy (pictured above) walk to Wilson Elementary a couple of times a week with their mom, Nickie. “It’s fun for them and it’s a little bit of exercise for me,” she said. What wasn’t so fun was crossing Little Dry Run Road at Wolfangel Road. “I’ve talked to parents for years about that intersection,” Nickie said. “Ever since we started walking, it’s always been an issue.
She’s had some close calls with her kids here. “They have little handles on the backs of their backpacks, and on occasion I’ve had to grab them because a car was going to go,” she said.
Keeping pedestrians safe
The Township has worked with the Hamilton County Engineer’s Office to increase the visibility of pedestrians and make drivers more aware of them, according to Anderson Township Planner Brad Bowers. “This is particularly helpful at the Little Dry Run and Wolfangel intersection, where visibility is occasionally impacted by the sun, as well as the angle and grade of the roadways approaching this location,” he said.
With support from county engineers and Wilson Elementary administrators, Anderson Township started a crosswalk flag program to make pedestrians more visible where Nickie and her sons cross, and at a second crosswalk in front of the school. The Wilson Elementary Parent Teacher Association provided funds to help purchase the flags, holders, and signage.
How it works
Orange flags are in holders on both sides of the crosswalks. Pedestrians take a flag and wave it to alert drivers. After crossing, they put the flag into the other holder. Instructions are posted at each crosswalk and the Township distributed flyers explaining the new process.
Crossing is safer
The flags make a difference. “I definitely feel like the kids are safer,” Nickie said. “When drivers see the kids picking those flags up out of the container, they’re really paying attention and they wait. They didn’t wait before.”
“Often students are accompanied by parents, but we have found that students feel much safer crossing the street with the bright orange flags in hand, resulting in an increase of students walking to school,” Brad said. “Initially, we were afraid of flags being stolen or vandalized, but that has not been the case. The flags, signs and holders are all intact and continue to facilitate pedestrian safety.”
The flags are popular with students. “I see a lot of kids using them,” Nickie said. “I think it’s nice because a lot of the kids will walk in two’s and in groups, and at least one of them will grab a flag.”
In the past, Nickie thought she’d never let her children walk to school without her. Now that crossing Little Dry Run is safer? “I’ve started to think about letting them walk on their own,” she said. “I haven’t gotten there yet, but my third grader is pushing for it.”
Anderson Township has been a WeTHRIVE!℠ community since 2014. Click here to find out about the Township’s WeTHRIVE! activities.