The City of Cambridge has had its share of issues when it comes to filling crossing guard positions, but is optimistic it can fill most of them.
Parents were up in arms over the lack of crossing guards and safety measures as the new school year rolled around.
On some of the busiest streets in Cambridge, the city was unable to fill the vital crossing guard positions needed to help children walk to school.
“Over the past week the interest has increased and I think that's a direct result of some of the media attention that these important positions have garnered,” said Hardy Bromberg, deputy city manager of community development.
With a number of applications for various positions, the city is looking to make fast-tracking their processing an internal priority.
Costs for police checks and medical exams to assure the applicant can handle withstanding hours in all weather would have normally been at the expense of the applicant, but the city is looking at covering these costs as an incentive to apply.
“Not sure if we'll get all of the vacant locations filled, but we do have a number with more than one applicant for a position and there's still a few locations that we're not getting a lot of interest in,” added Bromberg. “We're also offering different locations to them to see if we can spread it out a little bit, but we've had some positive reception to the opportunity.”
Parents and city councillors have criticized the city for not communicating the desperate need to fill these positions weeks prior to the school year, but Bromberg notes ethe city needs to do better at communicating issues to the public.
“It's something that we've taken away from this past experience. We need to be advertising a lot earlier in the process and trying to communicate to the communities where these locations that remain unfilled are,” he added.
One of the areas void of a crossing guard is on Myers Road.
Earlier in the week a car was impounded for doing 80 km/h in the school zone that has a posted limit of 40 km/h.
Tanja Pecnik crosses Myers Road everyday to bring her children to school. She thinks the lack of a crossing guard at that location is a disaster waiting to happen.
She remembers a young child who was hit on that road a few years ago and is worried the chances of that happening again has risen, because of the lack of safety from a crossing guard.
While Bromberg admits that a crossing guard would be ideal, he suggests children and families try to find a crossing with a stop sign or stoplight to add a bit more peace of mind.
“We are doing all we can to fill these positions and are hoping to continue to have interest in these positions as the public learns how important these roles are in the community,” said Bromberg.
Information on how to apply for open crossing guard positions and salary information can be found on the city’s website.