Guilderland schools look to improve car, pedestrian safety | #schoolsaftey

The backpacks are ready to go, school supplies have been purchased, and for Guilderland Central Schools students, the route to class is simpler and safer than before.

“Children are either there walking or biking to school,” said Pat Fahy, chair of the New York Assembly Higher Education Committee. “Some are being driven, but many are getting on a bus. And we know the traffic accidents, the bus accidents, the pedestrian accidents are going in the wrong direction in this country.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the hours immediately before and after school are the most dangerous times for pedestrians. In 2022, 300 pedestrians died during these peak hours.

Speeding is a major factor in those accidents. in 2022, 25% of accidents in school zones were attributed to speeding.

So, they’ve put cameras on the school buses, capturing and ticketing drivers who pass by when they aren’t supposed to.

“The numbers are a little bit staggering on how many violation chains exist,” said Jeff Jameson, counsel at the Albany County Executive’s Office. “I wouldn’t have thought the number would have been that high. And you know … in Guilderland alone, at the end of the school year, from March to the end of June, we’re looking at 1,500 violations just in Guilderland.”

Officials believe the bus safety program will change behaviors.

Guilderland Police are perhaps most excited for their new school-adjacent sidewalks at the elementary schools. A $375,000 grant went to new sidewalks with safety at top priority.

“You now pretty much can go on a sidewalk for that 7, 7 1/2 miles from the city line all the way to the Rotterdam line,” said Guilderland Police Chief Dan McNally. “What that allows is it puts our students on a sidewalk where they’re much safer. It allows crosswalks at intersections so that they’re crossing at points for motorists can identify.”

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