New BCD Fence Aims At Student Safety
Faced with a growing number of traffic accidents involving Beach Channel High School students at dismissal, officials began on Wednesday the construction of a waist-high fence along the center medial on Beach Channel Drive nearby the school in an attempt to force teens to cross at the traffic light rather than in the middle of the street.
According to Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who funded the $60 thousand project from state road safety money, the original idea came from former principal Bernard Gassaway after a number of motor vehicle accidents and near-misses brought the problem to his attention.
In December of 2003, signs on the Cross Bay Bridge were changed to issue a warning to motorists exiting onto Beach Channel Drive that “School is Dismissing, Drive Carefully.” That warning did little to alleviate the problem, however.
Pheffer then began the process to get the fence erected, an effort that took nearly two years.
The new fence will run from the Cross Bay Bridge exit ramp three blocks to Seaside Avenue, across from the main entrance to the school.
“The fence was originally only to run to 101 Street, but the school’s present principal, David Morris, asked that we extend it another block,” Pheffer told The Wave. “I was glad to provide the extra money for a little extra safety.”
And, while Pheffer admits that some kids will still hop the fence, she says that the $60 thousand is money well spent.
“That’s little enough to pay for teenage safety,” she concluded.