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Published: Wednesday, 9/1/2004

Site for Oakdale students flunks concerns for safety

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Students head home after the first day of school at the former LOF-Pilkington technical center, which is across the street from their usual school, Oakdale Elementary. The old school will be replaced. In the meantime, traffic safety weighs heavily on everyone's mind. Students head home after the first day of school at the former LOF-Pilkington technical center, which is across the street from their usual school, Oakdale Elementary. The old school will be replaced. In the meantime, traffic safety weighs heavily on everyone's mind.
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Hundreds of Oakdale Elementary students filed out of classes before noon yesterday to their parents or guardians after the first day of school.

They adjusted their bookbags and chatted about their "new" East Toledo school - the former LOF-Pilkington technical center across from the Oakdale building, which soon will be razed and rebuilt. But as they approached East Broadway to cross the road, adults clasped their children's hands or grabbed their backpacks. They eased between vehicles parked in no parking zones on both sides of the street and waited for lines of vehicles to pass in both directions.

"We need a crosswalk other than the one way up there," at East Broadway and Oakdale Avenue, said parent Carla Graff, vice president of the Oakdale parent-teacher board. "It's not gonna be a good situation."

Stacey Snyder would like to see a crosswalk and crossing guard in front of the "swing school," where her son and other students will be housed until a new Oakdale school is built by the end of next year.

"It's only a matter of time before a kid dashes across [the street] or a parent says it's OK to cross and the kid gets hit," Principal Cathy Johnson said.

The congested street and lack of parking and a crosswalk are concerns for parents and school officials. They expressed their apprehensions to the city in February and were told traffic studies were done, but a community meeting on the issue hasn't taken place, Mrs. Johnson said.

Students in the former Oakdale school used a door on East Broadway and often didn't have to cross the street, or they used a side door on Oakdale, where there is a crosswalk and traffic light.

Now, they use the front of the "swing school." Many don't walk on East Broadway to the intersection of Oakdale, where there is a crossing guard and sixth-grade safety guard.

They cut across East Broadway in an area where there is no crosswalk or signal.

City and school officials will discuss the matter, possibly as early as this week.

"However, some of the short-term solution suggestions might not work in the long term," city Safety Director Joe Walter said.

Contact Christina Hall at

chall@theblade.com

or 419-724-6007.



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