Many students at Fairmont High School have had some sort of encounter with the dreaded traffic light at the intersection of Lincoln Park Boulevard and Shroyer Road.
Whether it’s been the cause of a tardy, road rage or in worse cases a car accident, many students at Fairmont have had an experience with this specific traffic light.
A common argument brought up by parents and students alike is the fact that morning traffic is not directed; whereas, Fairmont’s Resource Officer, Edward Drayton, directs traffic after school during dismissal.
If the morning, traffic is at its highest rate of congestion, so why isn’t an officer out directing? Why is traffic monitored only in the afternoon?
What some of these students and parents might not know is that the time Drayton is spending out directing traffic in the evening is for one main reason, getting the school buses out safely and efficiently.
“The main reason why I’m out there in the evening is to direct the buses, in the morning they are coming from all different directions and don’t hold everything up as much,” Drayton said.
When looking for other reasons to why traffic is so bad at Lincoln Park Boulevard and Shroyer Road in the mornings, faults such as weather have been to blame.
“Some different factors to why it is so bad is because of inclimate weather. Driving is more dangerous and more kids do not want to wait for the bus or walk in the cold right now,” Drayton said.
Drayton hopes that as soon as the weather starts to become warmer, traffic will begin to decrease leaving less risk for congestion and accidents.
Although it is severely dangerous, many drivers will run the red lights and cut through cars in hopes of not being late to school or work.
“I have had parents give me a call about their children almost getting hit, because cars are trying to turn right or left on red,” he said. “Most people do not pay attention that they have to yield to pedestrians.”
Drayton has seen both sides of the story, and he realizes that while kids arriving to school earlier may help prevent issues, a change in the light may help to prevent future accidents.
“Possibly, if we could get a left turn arrow for the light that will help because hopefully more cars would be allowed to pass through appropriately with more time,” He said.
Luckily, the students and parents who have been affected by the traffic light have had their voices heard. Drayton is planning on talking with the City of Kettering’s Civil Engineering Department to see what changes could possibly be made.
“There’s enough to where I am warranted to go to the city’s Civil Engineers and see if there is a possibility that we might be able to get a left turn arrow up at the light,” he said.
Unfortunately, more serious matters have been accounted for at this intersection than just a simple tardy at school.
In 2016, a 13-year-old Kettering student was hit by a car while skateboarding to school in the morning. The driver was turning right on red and failed to stop for the pedestrian in the crosswalk. Although the boy only received minor injuries it is still concerning to think drivers are becoming that reckless.
Kathryn Franz, a senior at Fairmont, was recently involved in an accident at this intersection on Jan. 28, 2018, Franz was heading northbound on Shroyer Road and was struck by car going over the speed limit along with running a red light.
Although Franz received minor injuries, her car was totaled and pieces of metal, engine and glass from her mirrors were scattered across the pavement that morning.
Some students at Fairmont become extremely heated when talking about this traffic light. The most common complaint by students or parents is again, drivers turning left northbound from Shroyer Road onto Lincoln Park Boulevard.
“I believe students are heated about that light because they leave to get to school and are late because they can’t get through that light,” Franz said. “I even live three minutes from Fairmont and on a bad traffic day I could be waiting on that light for 15 minutes.”
A solution commonly talked about to prevent accidents is to implement a left turn arrow. However, left turn arrows are only required at major intersections, which unfortunately due to it’s location the light is not considered to be busy enough.
Franz agrees that a left turn arrow would be very useful for the community, and is surprised changing the light has not been brought to attention.
“I’m shocked there isn’t one there now. I know I’m not the first accident to happen there and people recklessly drive through there daily,” Franz said. “I mean it’s in front of a school. Wouldn’t people want there to be more safety for students?”
Although people blame the traffic light for a lot of accidents and tardies, the driving of students and parents are what really matters when discussing safety and responsibility.
The best thing to do is to drive safely, and risk receiving a tardy rather than risking your life.
“My advice for students in front of that light is to just take your time and stay through the red light. Just be safe and drive cautiously for your safety and others around you,” Franz said.