Crosswalk groundbreaking: Clayton County Police Major Joe Woodall; Clayton County Fire Chief Jeff Hood; Detrick Stanford, parks and recreation; Clayton commissioner Sonna Singleton; Clayton health director Alpha Bryan; Jennifer Archier-Denton, FedEx Express; Enjoli Jones, Safe Kids Clayton; and Chairman Eldrin Bell.
Clayton County officials broke ground Wednesday for a crosswalk on Rex Road they say will make it safer for children to walk to the neighborhood recreation center.
Facilitated by Safe Kids Clayton County, the $25,000 grant from FedEx will cover “almost all” of the cost of a crosswalk with flashing lights in front of the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, according to Safe Kids Clayton County coordinator Enjoli Jones.
Before the groundbreaking, Jones told an audience of county employees and about 30 local children that “a significant number” of pedestrian injuries happen to youth — and that most cars on Rex Road are likely to be moving at 55 mph rather than the 35-mph posted limit.
Statistics reported by Safe Kids Clayton County suggests how this might play out: About a third of the 540 pedestrian injuries and fatalities reported in Clayton between 2005 and 2009 happened to pedestrians under 19.
Clayton County Chairman Eldrin Bell illustrated the problem even more effectively, albeit unintentionally. Before the groundbreaking, he asked two children from the audience to help him illustrate pedestrian safety.
“Let’s pretend that this is a street, and let’s pretend that you’re together, and let’s pretend that he wants to run,” Bell said to one child while gesturing to the other. “What are you going to do?”
“Encourage him!” the other child answered, to audience laughter.
“Some run, and some walk and hope that you slow down,” Jones said of children who crossed the street to the rec center.
The Rex crosswalk was chosen from among several different needs in Clayton County by a task force composed of officers from the Clayton County Police and Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services, as well as representatives from the Georgia Department of Transportation, Clayton County’s transportation and development department, and FedEx. All were present at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Bell also used the ceremony as an opportunity to promote voting for the Transportation Investment Act on July 31. He said one of his top priorities is “sidewalks around schools,” and that the tax that will fund the act — known popularly as the T-SPLOST — could help fund even them.
Safe Kids Clayton County is about a year old and is one of 28 such coalitions in Georgia. Last month, Jones was named Georgia 2011 coordinator of the year.