CARMEN GONZALEZ CALDWELL
Last week's column, on speeding in residential neighborhoods, brought a whirlwind of e-mails.
I thought I had heard it all at Neighborhood Watch meetings, but I guess I haven't. Lots of readers complained that their communities are used to avoid traffic tie-ups, and that people just cut through their areas. Many complained that trying to get their government to place signs or speed bumps were falling on deaf ears. Many spoke about how they can't allow their kids to ride their bikes because of speeders, especially around school areas.
Well here is where you the reader need to reach out to your elected officials, no matter where you live and ask them to either do something or explain why nothing is being done. Now what may work in a municipality may not work in unincorporated areas, so you need to ask what is available in your neighborhood. You should also work with your local police department.
With that said, I want to share with you two county programs that you might be interested in, because it's important for you to know what is being done to protect our children and residents.
• School crossing guard program:
The School Crossing Guard Program of the Miami-Dade Police Department was instituted to provide safe access to school for children in elementary schools. Currently, 119 schools are covered by a staff of approximately 500 guards.
These guards provide countless hours helping our children cross busy streets as they arrive and depart from school. Crossing guards often encounter hostile attitudes from individuals who are more concerned with their own personal agendas than the safety of school children. The guards also work in pouring rain, sizzling heat and freezing cold.
They also wish that drivers would obey the 15 mph speed limit in school zones. And please: While picking up the kids, don't stop or park in crosswalks.
• Traffic safety education program:
Another Miami-Dade police effort, the Traffic Safety Education Program, was instituted to provide educational presentations and instruction for citizen groups concerning various aspects of pedestrian, traffic, bicycle and alcohol-related safety. Currently there are presentations covering the above topics for ages pre-k through senior citizens. The Educational Unit has completed the Standardized Child Passenger Safety Program offered by the National Highway Traffic Administration. The unit also can help parents correctly install child car seats, a service also offered by the Florida Highway Patrol and some city police agencies.
Police have received positive feedback from schools and community groups on both programs.
The above information was provided by the Miami-Dade Police Department Pedestrian Safety Unit which works very close with us at Citizens' Crime Watch to better educate our community.
In closing, I want to congratulate our new Miami-Dade Police Director Jim Loftus, a true advocate of Neighborhood Watch.
I also would like to wish the very best to my former editor, Andrea Robinson, who has retired. She was a great mentor to me.
Carmen Caldwell is executive director of the Citizens' Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news to her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her, 305-470-1670