City, county officials want crosswalk on Lynda Lee Drive

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 30, 2000

Keisha Johnson doesn’t remember much of what happened to her Nov. 18. But she does know one thing. &uot;The next person that gets hit up there is not going to be as lucky as I was,&uot; Johnson said.

On a rainy Saturday night, Frank Woods III, 19, 14&160;Virginia&160;Ave., apparently struck Johnson, 19, 601 Old Washington Road, Apartment 25-A, with his vehicle while she was crossing Lynda Lee Drive at Old Washington Road. Neither saw each other, so no charges will be filed against Woods, said Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff.

Johnson is recovering from her injuries – a broken collarbone and a hurt knee and ankle – but the accident has once again brought attention to the state-maintained intersection, which a group of about 30 children cross every day to attend Central Alternative School.

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Tuesday, Adams County supervisors decided to mail a letter to the Mississippi Department of Transportation to see if it can place a traffic signal or at least a crosswalk at the intersection.

Natchez Alderman Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot;&160;West, who represents that area, said this is something he has been trying to do for several years.

&uot;Something is needed,&uot; West said. &uot;Somebody is eventually is going to get hurt.&uot;

Because Lynda Lee Drive is a state highway, only MDOT can make any changes. All local officials can do is request action by the state.

&uot;It’s a state highway and (MDOT) determines what goes on a state highway,&uot; Huff said.

Janet Sullivan, administrative assistant for MDOT, said the state will not put a traffic light at the intersection because the traffic count is too low. State officials may consider putting in a crosswalk, but that would probably not be enough to solve the problem, she said.

&uot;(MDOT) will look into a crosswalk but the recommendation will be that a crossing guard be there as well&uot; when children are crossing the street for school,&160;Sullivan said.

Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis said they have not discussed having a crossing guard at Lynda Lee Drive, but the police patrol the area when possible. The Natchez Police Department and the school district also installed a new caution light at the school this year, Davis said.

Many local officials agree that just putting in a crosswalk may not be enough at any time of day.

&uot;People have got to be careful when they do what they do,&uot; Huff said, adding that this intersection is not any more dangerous than any other in the city. &uot;A crosswalk is not going to mean someone is not necessarily going to be hit.&uot;

Davis agrees a crosswalk may not be the only answer for the school children. Crosswalks may give people a false sense of security, he said.

If a crosswalk was in place, &uot;I think the kids and everybody just figure the cars are supposed to stop,&uot; he said.

The intersection would need some kind of light to be safer, Davis said.

To increase safety, Central Alternative School Principal Betty Cade said teachers often stand at the corner as the students are crossing the street. She said she thinks if the school had a crossing guard it would not only help the students cross the street but also help with traffic coming into the school.

&uot;All I know is there is a need and it should be addressed,&uot; Cade said.

Morgantown Elementary, McLaurin Elementary, Natchez Middle School and Frazier Primary School already have crossing guards paid for by either the City of Natchez or Adams County, Davis said.