By Mary O’KEEFE
After years of monitoring traffic, standing on corners with cops, teachers and Public Works, and answering endless emails, Crescenta Valley Town Council member Robbyn Battles finally got word she had been waiting for – a crossing guard has been approved for Rosemont Middle School.
“It was approved [Wednesday] by the Los Angeles County board of supervisors,” Battles said.
The board of supervisors approved a motion by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich that directed the Dept. of Public Works to implement crossing guard service at the crosswalk on Rosemont Avenue, south of Los Amigos Street near Rosemont Middle School.
“My office has worked closely with parents, local residents, the town council and the California Highway Patrol who have expressed concerns over the safety of the students who use the crosswalk on Rosemont Avenue,” Antonovich said.
Beginning early next week, the crossing guard service will be in effect for 12 months while the Dept. of Public Works conducts traffic studies near the school and develops a comprehensive solution to address safety concerns.
“The crossing guard will be there on Monday,” Battles said.
CHP had also contacted the supervisor’s office and recommended a Rosemont crossing guard.
Rosemont principal Dr. Cynthia Livingston will send out a ConnectEd phone call to all Rosemont parents informing them of the addition and plans on having some training sessions for kids.
“We want them to know it may be slower [getting across the street], but they have to listen to the crossing guard,” she said.
Getting a crossing guard for Rosemont has not been easy. Although to some parents who had contacted Battles a crossing guard seemed an easy decision, official approval was not that simple.
“It is a process,” Battles said.
There are several entities that must be contacted and worked with in order to get approval. Battles gathered authorities from California Highway Patrol, Dept. of Public Works and Glendale Unified School District while keeping in constant communication with Supervisor Michael Anotonovich.
“You get your team together and you watch,” she said. “Then you come up with solutions.”
Although from the beginning Battles and Livingston had wanted a crossing guard, that option seemed remote since middle school rarely gets that type of traffic support.
New lights, brighter paint at the crossing and a few other suggestions were bantered around, but both Livingston and Battles kept coming back to a crossing guard.
Rosemont parents had also kept the pressure on to do something to help control the traffic at the school before a serious accident occurred.
A fatality on May 2 at Roosevelt Middle School in Glendale and a near miss at Rosemont had parents once again calling for traffic help.
Battles said she understood the parents’ frustration, but the best way to move forward was to get everyone on the same page. She worked closely with Sussy Nemer, Antonovich’s representative, then approached the supervisor’s office with her findings.
“This is exactly what the Town Council is all about. It is about going through the process,” she said. “I would never just pick up the phone to [Antonovich’s office] and say I want a crossing guard. You have to do your due diligence.”
Going through the process and never, ever, taking “no” for an answer is a talent Battles has perfected through her years of working on traffic safety for the CVTC.
“I think maybe Public Works says, ‘Oh, no’ when they see me coming,” Battles joked.
But Public Works always takes her calls and is willing to sit and monitor the intersections and crosswalks.
When Livingston got word that a crossing guard had been approved, she found herself a little emotional.
“I am overwhelmed,” she said. “I am so completely overwhelmed.”
Livingston wanted to thank Battles, CHP and Antonovich for their support.
“I want to thank [Antonovich] for thinking outside the box and … doing the right thing to keep our kids safe,” Livingston said.
There has been a question of where the money for the crossing guard would come from, with some thinking it was out of the school district’s budget.
“It does not come from the district,” Battles said.
The funding and approval must come from Los Angeles County, which is why the supervisor’s support was so important. Battles added that Antonovich’s office has always been supportive, but knew she had to get all the information together before approaching him.
“I am thankful we have a supervisor who clearly sees that there is a danger in our community,” she said.
Although the crossing guard is a positive step in the traffic safety direction, it still comes down to drivers. Everyone involved with traffic safety remind drivers of the need to slow down and obey all traffic laws.