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Rye Parents Seek Safety Improvements Near Osborn Elementary School

An adult waits for three children from Osborn Elementary School on Thursday and then crosses Boston Post Road to Sonn Drive. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
The adult and children cross where there is no crosswalk. A northbound car on Boston Post Road stopped to allow them to finish crossing safely. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
This adult zigzagged across Boston Post Road, presumably to pick up children at Osborn, as traffic passed in both directions. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
A school crossing guard helping children cross safely with the traffic light at Osborn and Boston Post Roads. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Cars block the sidewalk as they try to enter the Osborn Elementary School entrance on Osborn Road. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Another adult crossing Boston Post Road with a child, between stop-and-go traffic, shortly after 3 p.m. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
What the traffic standstill looked like about noon Tuesday when school was dismissed early. Photo Credit: Daily Voice file photo

This story has been updated.

RYE, N.Y. -- Parents whose children attend Osborn Elementary School say it's time to revisit plans to upgrade intersections near the school on Boston Post Road (Route 1).

They say an already busy road with inadequate road markings and chaotic intersections only gets more dangerous in foul weather and during early dismissals, which coincided on Tuesday.

To make matters worse, adults sometimes cross Boston Post Road, with children in tow, between parked and moving cars, as observed by the Daily Voice on Thursday.

About 3 p.m., at least six adults crossed where there is no crosswalk at Sonn Drive from the school's entrance on Boston Post Road. A Rye police car cruised by but did not assist in directing pedestrians or stop-and-go traffic.

On Thursday, Osborn Principal Angela Garcia emailed parents to invite them to join a committee to study early dismissal solutions. (See email text below.) Garcia included this survey link to be completed by Dec. 17.

Pedestrians can cross safely, with a school crossing guard directing them, at a traffic light at Boston Post Road's intersection with Oakland Beach Avenue and Osborn Road. That intersection is a block south of Sonn Drive, where many residents of Rye Gardens live.

Boukje Bosch-Smits and other parents say they'd like a crosswalk added at Sonn Drive. In 2010, city officials considered adding a traffic light there, but chose the less costly option of painting road markings to ease southbound traffic past idling cars -- while parents idling wait for their children after school. However, cars heading south toward Mamaroneck often use the "left turn" lane intended for Oakland Beach Avenue to continue along Boston Post Road. That also jams traffic toward sidewalks crowded with children.

"There's always a queue (of cars.) It's always terrible,'' said Bosch-Smits, whose daughter was struck by a car while crossing Route 1 to Sonn Drive last spring. Her injuries confined her to a wheelchair for three months.

Another parent, Sue Drouin, said, "The backup is awful. I wish they could find a way to fix it. The pickup situation is crazy. I don't think it's safe for children to walk.''

"That is my dream,'' Drouin said of the possibility of a crosswalk at Sonn Drive.

Anne McCarthy agreed: "If you really want kids to walk, protect them."

"It is time for the city to revisit that decision,'' McCarthy said of not installing a traffic light or crosswalk at Sonn Drive. "It is a very dangerous intersection so I'm not even sure putting a police officer there would help."

Here is the text of Garcia's Thursday email: Dear Parents,  It’s no secret that school dismissal, especially during bad weather, continues to challenge our school and the surrounding roads.  The situation is frustrating for everyone and I would like your input to develop some new solutions. I would like to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders, including parents, teachers, crossing guards and administrators to discuss the safety of children during arrival and dismissal.  The committee will meet January 13th, 15th and 20th from 1:30-3:00 p.m. and will be charged to meet the following goals: -  Discuss procedures posing problems within the space restrictions of the Osborn School campus -  Gain an understanding of the needs of the people traveling from different neighborhoods to Osborn School -  Gain an understanding of the needs of various groups of people involved in dismissal -  Propose changes for improvement -  Work collaboratively to communicate arrival and dismissal procedures to parents and caregivers If interested, please complete the following survey before 12 p.m. on December 17th. If chosen to sit on the committee you will be contacted by phone before December vacation.   Thank you for your support.  Warmly, Angela Garcia Osborn School Principal

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