Crosswalk markings fade

WATCHDOG

concern grows

December 05, 2006

THE PROBLEM -- The crosswalk in front of Catholic High School of Baltimore on Edison Highway in Northeast Baltimore has faded, making it difficult for motorists to see and dangerous for students to cross.

THE BACK STORY --The school's principal, Keith Harmeyer, said he first complained about the crosswalk in September 2004. He said he has called various city agencies, including the mayor's office at City Hall.

"I called every month on the first of the month, and somebody assured me that someone would come and fix it," Harmeyer said. "And they didn't. There is always the concern that one day somebody could get hurt."

The school has 298 students, and many park in the neighborhood across the street from the school or along Edison Highway and cross the road. Harmeyer said he spent previous years working in Baltimore County. "I knew nothing about the city bureaucracy," he said. "I remember they gave me a number. I have no idea what that was."

David Brown, a spokesman for the city's Department of Transportation, said there is no record of complaints.

There are more than 10,000 crosswalks in the city, and workers routinely investigate crosswalks that need to be altered. Brown said the staff concentrates on elementary and middle schools.

Brown said there are three types of crosswalks: ones with small slanted lines used in areas of high pedestrian traffic, such as downtown; ones with zebra stripes used at schools and ones with horizontal stripes used everywhere else. The first two types of crosswalks each cost $190 to redo. A standard crosswalk costs $140 to redo.

In the case of Catholic High School, Brown said that Edison Highway is scheduled to be resurfaced this month, and plans are to install a thermoplastic crosswalk, which is an asphalt overlay that lasts longer than paint. In the meantime, Brown said workers would go out and hand-paint a crosswalk to ensure students are safe - though nothing had been completed by yesterday afternoon. WHO CAN FIX IT -- Linda P. Hooper, sign shop superintendent at the city Department of Transportation, 410-396-7557.

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