Most school children in sprawling Jefferson Township take the bus to and from school.
Distance and a lack of sidewalks make walking to school unlikely for most students, but those at White Rock School have sidewalks and many do walk to and from school.
Several months ago, Brownie Troop 6771 wrote to Mayor Eric Wilsusen to explain the crosswalk on White Rock Boulevard at Marci Drive was not visible enough to drivers.
Wilsusen grew up in the community and understood what they were talking about. He brought the matter up with council at budget time and got a budget line item for a lighted crosswalk. Two poles with LED lights will make the new crosswalk more visible even in inclement weather.
The lights aren’t the only new innovation in crosswalk design. Three friends, George Gillen of Jefferson, who attends the environmental science academy at the high school, and Dillon Fleksher, and Ryan Winters of Kinnelon High School worked on a project to research and demonstrate how 3D crosswalks could improve pedestrian safety. The extracurricular project won first place last year in the state in the 18th annual eCYBERMISSION competition. This is one of several science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives sponsored by the U.S.Army Educational Outreach Program. All three boys are sophomores.
The design the boys developed was painted on the street at no charge by V&V Line Striping of Boonton, Wilsusen said.
The first of the boys’ crosswalks was painted behind the Smoke Rise Inn in Kinnelon after the Smoke Rise board of governors approved it. The second is the one at White Rock School, the only 3D crosswalk at a school in the state. The boys call their team the Ham Horns. George’s mother, Jemi Gillen-Ruth, advised the team.
Gillen-Ruth said the project was written up in Pavements magazine.
Wilsusen said the convergence of the Brownies’ letter and the boys’ project made the entire thing perfect for the intersection.
He and the Brownies cut a ribbon at the walk on Wednesday, October 21. Police officers, DPW employees, school officials, and parents attended.
The DEP installed a curb cut on the school side of the crosswalk for added safety, the mayor said.