Extra crossing guards and a new sidewalk for Fairfax County's Rutherford neighborhood will be requested by two county school board members and county supervisor Audrey Moore.
The requests are the results of discussion with parents, who have complained about the dangers of new routes children will walk in the coming school year to Robert Frost Intermediate and W. T. Woodson High schools.
In the nearby Mantua area, no additional safety measures are planned for students walking to Frost, at 4101 Pickett Rd., and Woodson, at 9525 Main St., but several parents say they will step up demands for bus service or more crossing guards.
The disputes between school officials and parents in the neighborhoods on either side of Little River Turnpike just east of Fairfax City stem from a school system decision to drop bus service for Frost and Woodson students from the Rutherford and Mantua areas.
Last Thursday, after examining the walking routes that Rutherford parents described as hazardous, school board members Ann P. Kahn and Eltse Carter agreed to ask the board for at least one additional crossing guard on Olley Lane because of heavy rush-hour traffic.
Kahn said they will seek one or two crossing guards, at a cost of $3,200 each.
In addition, Moore told parents she will ask the county supervisors for approximately $20,000 to construct a 1,000-foot sidewalk along a stretch of Olley Lane where children are likely to take a shortcut to school. s
If approved, it could take several years before the sidewalk is installed and Kahn said, "We wouldn't delay the change from buses to walking until the sidewalk is ready."
School and county officials also walked last Thursday along the route Mantua children will be asked to follow to school. Afterward, Kahn said she believes no extra crossing guards are needed on Little River Turnpike, as parents requested.
Mantua parent leader Ann Cohen said dissatisfied parents will appeal to supervisors and school board representatives for more guards when children walk to and from school and after-school activities. She said parents also asked Virginia highway officials to monitor traffic on Little River Turnpike to determine if the road is safe for children to cross without assistance.