The Dangers of Berdan Avenue

Students recklessly crossing Berdan becomes hazardous to both themselves and drivers.

The+Dangers+of+Berdan+Avenue

By Katherine Colucci, Staff Writer

Since the beginning of the school year, Wayne Hills’ students have been crossing Berdan Avenue to make their way home or get to the Point View Shopping Center. However, they do not walk at a crosswalk or a monitored intersection, but sprint across the street the second there are no cars. Most of the time, they also walk along the side of the road with no sidewalk with only a narrow shoulder in front of a guardrail. Such actions have caused controversy among parents and students, inducing everyone to ask the same question: is this safe?

Some Wayne Hills students believe there isn’t a major issue, one being a anonymous freshman who often crosses Berdan Avenue to grab a bite at Positano’s. She describes how she usually joins a group of people and sprints across the road with them once the coast is clear. “It’s just common sense,” she states. “Just make sure there aren’t any cars coming and stick to the sidewalk when you can.”

On the other hand, many people still find this too hazardous. Gianna Passaro, a junior who commonly crosses Berdan to walk home, finds the situation dangerous and in need of a solution. She remembers when she was a freshman and decided to join a group of students about to run across the street. The experience felt unsafe and made her nervous, so from that point on she has chosen safer ways to cross. Yet Gianna still finds walking home risky. The speed limit on Berdan near the school is 35 mph, and on such a busy street, many cars are going much faster despite being  within a school zone. Over the course of time, several accidents have already occured on this road due to speeding, diverted attention, losing control of vehicles, and not following basic rules of the road.

A sophomore student from Wayne Hills, who also would like to remain anonymous, has similar opinions to Gianna. He had only crossed Berdan Avenue once and it was enough for him to find the road too dangerous. Adding on to the hazards of reckless drivers, there are several areas for cars to turn onto the road where it’s difficult to see anyone crossing. With this, even if someone is driving safely, there is still the risk of injuring a student because of restricted view.

Drivers are also put at risk by this dangerous situation. This anonymous sophomore’s mother was once driving into the school to pick him up and had to slam on the brakes due to kids carelessly sprinting across the street. Incidents such as these can cause major collisions, especially since having to stop short causes every other car in line to be affected. It only takes one driver who is speeding or doesn’t react quick enough to crash into a car and cause an accident.

Most people believe that a solution to this issue is needed as fast as possible. The situation has become a popular topic of conversations and news articles, even sparking a meeting from the Board of Education to discuss the problem. One suggestion is to have police regulating traffic along Berdan Avenue. “Right now, it’s a free for all,” the sophomore calls it. “We need someone to help students and drivers be safe.”  However, there are already a crosswalk and controlled intersection near the TD Bank, which is close to the shopping center. Walking to this area takes about 20 minutes, and for some students that’s too much time compared to the method they’re using now.

Parents have become increasingly concerned for the wellbeing of Wayne Hills students crossing Berdan Avenue. Mr. Basilicato, one of Wayne Hills’ Drivers Ed. teachers, has even brought up the topic to his class after a lesson on pedestrian crossing. He displayed a video from on an online source showing students away from the sidewalk, waiting along the shoulder of the road, and running across the street the second no cars are in sight. He explains how dangerous it is to both students and drivers when people recklessly cross the street and mentions that everyone should be using a safer method. “You know where the TD Bank is?” he asks his students.”There’s a crosswalk close to there. That’s the safest way to cross and what you guys should be using.”

Overall, it is a tough decision about how to move forwards with this issue. With a lack of signs, signals, crosswalks, and safe drivers, Berdan Avenue is a dangerous road even without students sprinting across the street. However, one thing can be agreed on by many people: the situation must be solved before someone is seriously hurt.

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