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PHS Student Hit by Car in Crosswalk Results in Call for Slower S - KOAM TV 7

PHS Student Hit by Car in Crosswalk Results in Call for Slower Speed Zone & Flashing Lights

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Pittsburg, KS -

     A crosswalk next to Pittsburg high school is the focus of concern for the city and the district. Gabriel Norton was hit by a car there Monday.
 Norton's mom helped him get into a sling Tuesday. He has a broken collar bone, a concussion and scrapes and bruises after being hit by the car. He was in the crosswalk next to Pittsburg high school’s main entrance which is  just about two blocks away from his home.
Gabriel commented that, "usually people see you and slow down before they even get close to you. There was a lot of traffic, people picking up kids, so you can’t really see that well."


The superintendent, Destry Brown, said they've made requests of KDOT in the past for a stop sign at a nearby intersection and for a slower speed school zone. In the past, KDOT rejected the request.  Brown believes the crosswalk and its location are dangerous. He explained, "My concern for a long time has been it’s a four lane road. If two cars are next to each other and you have someone crossing, one of those cars is always in a blind spot."


That's what happened to Gabriel. He and his mom want the driver to know they don't blame him. Gabriel said,  "It wasn't anybody's fault."
His mother, Carolyn Norton, approached the driver at the scene of the crash and noticed he was very upset. She wanted to calm him. She told the teen driver,  "He didn't mean to get hit and you didn't mean to hit him. It was an accident."
The city of Pittsburg had already ordered a flashing LED  light system one on Rouse Street which is used by Pittsburg State University students to get to the recreation center. That new system was expected this week but is coming from Florida where weather has led to delays. It should only take a day to install when it arrives.

The LED flashing lights are triggered when pedestrians push a button. Traffic is supposed to stop for them. City Manager Daron Hall said, "We tried to do the intersection improvement over there and couldn't get matching funds for that so we're just down to pedestrian control and speed control."

But it is not on a timer like other school zone systems and doesn’t display a specific speed limit.

The limit on Fourth Street where the crosswalk is located is forty miles an hour. But just a few blocks closer to downtown it’s thirty miles per hour.
Gabriel and his parents say the light might help  but  believe the speed  limit should be changed.
Rick Norton, Gabriel’s dad said,  "Not just because it’s my son, I want it done. I want the safety for anybody who walks across there."
Carolyn urged, "The speed limit needs to drop down just for a couple of blocks to twenty miles an hour so that they have time to see and time to react when there's a child there."

     According to KDOT, the Kansas Department of Transportation, the area around the crosswalk was already approved for a school zone several months ago. But KDOT does not have funding for the signage.
     And city manager Hall  told us the KDOT recommended that an officer or other personnel somehow direct bus traffic onto 4th street because cars would be closer together in a school zone making it difficult for them to enter into traffic.  The school superintendent was not aware of the school zone approval when he talked with KOAM-TV Tuesday.


 

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