More caution at school crossings Safety: The death of a Greenspring Middle School student leads to changes in school procedures for monitoring crosswalks.

Intrepid Commuter

September 30, 1996

Since an 11-year-old student was struck fatally by a car as he left classes at Greenspring Middle School on Sept. 10, school officials have made major changes.

First, students are admonished to cross the street only at the designated crosswalks, which means taking a few steps out of their way up a short hill in front of the school to the intersection of Greenspring and Woodland avenues.

Anyone seen not doing this is intercepted and lectured by a teacher or other school official who has been posted to watch for those who jaywalk across Greenspring, as witnessed by Intrepid last week.

Residents of the area where the accident occurred had requested that a traffic light be installed on Greenspring near the school.

City Department of Public Works officials said after the accident that a meeting had been held with school and community officials and that a traffic study was under way.

The accident was ruled pedestrian error by John Kalinski, a traffic investigator and 19-year veteran of the city police force, who looked into the tragedy.

Kalinski said he spoke with students at Greenspring Middle after the accident and was told that some students play a game called "chicken coop" when they leave school.

Put simply, this is a "game" where children walk in the street, straight toward a car and try to unnerve the driver. When the car gets too close, they jump out of harm's way.

One witness told Kalinski that the victim was playing chicken coop when he was hit, while others told the officer that the child dashed into the path of the car for unexplained reasons. "Jaywalking is technically against the law. Chicken coop is against the law, too," Kalinski said.

As most Baltimore drivers know, jaywalking is a common offense here in Charm City -- too common for police to enforce, Kalinski acknowledged.

"It's one of the minor things, and we kind of let it go. You can cross the street wrong as long as you look and use common sense," he said.

Section of Bethlehem Blvd. closes for nine months

Beginning today, a section of Bethlehem Boulevard between Wharf Road and North Point Road will be closed for nine months as part of a project that will allow engineers to widen the 3.6-mile Interstate 695 ramp to the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Three detours are in effect: along Route 151 (North Point Blvd.), Sparrows Point Road and on Wharf Road.

The construction is part of an $89.5 million project to widen the remaining two-lane portion of the Beltway to four lanes.

The project is being financed entirely with toll revenues.

Free vehicle inspections available from AAA

Bet you didn't know that October is National Car Care Month. In honor of this designation, Intrepid is pleased to pass along news of free vehicle inspections conducted by AAA of Maryland that will tell if your wheels need new batteries, belts or brake fluids.

Checks will be conducted by AAA's experts from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Mall in Columbia. On Oct. 8, inspections will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Golden Ring Mall.

Cars will be checked on a first come, first served basis, and owners will be given a written report detailing their car's potential woes.

Vulcan Blazers scorch the Intrepid One

Last week, your Intrepid One reported that Maryland vanity ZTC tags had been issued to a group called the Vulcan Blazers, dismissed in the column as unknowns with a funny name.

Before the paper's ink had dried, Vulcan, the god of fire, descended upon Intrepid in the form of 35 phone calls and a few smoking faxes to explain that the Vulcaneers are a group of black city fire fighters who work for charitable causes and community pride.

They are a union local affiliated with the International Association of Firefighters. The Blazers even have a social hall at Park Circle.

Toot-toots of the horn for this group and its noble causes.

Shortcuts

Hungry, rushed commuters can seek out a white truck parked daily along Hillen Road near Morgan State University. Called simply "Jo's Home Cookin," the woman-owned chef-on-wheels biz sells cheese steaks and chicken breast sandwiches out the back door. Seen on the Beltway: A bumper sticker that gives new meaning to the '70s term White House plumbers: "FLUSH RUSH." Will McCormick executives cry each time they drive on Gilroy Road in Hunt Valley now that the spice giant has unloaded its onion subsidiary, Gilroy Foods? The drive winds through McCormick's extensive warehouse and office complex, parallel to the main drag, McCormick Drive. Will the namesake road leave an aftertaste? In response to Intrepid's query, Baltimore County traffic engineers will post reflector signs on utility poles lining Padonia Road near Falls Road. Many are positioned just off the roadside, making for cozy curve driving.

Pub Date: 9/30/96

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