A New York City lawmaker is calling for an increase in the number of school crossing guards, saying that this is something that can save lives immediately as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s overall vision to end traffic deaths in the city.
Councilman David Greenfield’s request comes the day after he attended a Transportation Committee hearing on the mayor’s “Vision Zero” proposal, which calls for more traffic cameras, lower speed limits, added cops and speed guns, and increased ticketing.
NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan said at the hearing that out of roughly 2,300 total crossing guard slots, there are about 200 unfilled positions.
“The mayor’s Vision Zero plan contains many great and ambitious ideas, many of which will take time to implement,” Greenfield said in a statement. “Hiring more crossing guards is a great first step that we can immediately take.
This issue is especially pressing in Greenfield’s south Brooklyn district, which is home to the fastest growing youth population in the city, with nearly 100 schools.
During the hearing, police officials noted challenges in recruiting candidates for crossing guard positions, including the pay, which ranges from $9 an hour to $12 an hour, and the schedule, which features a five-hour workday with a break between the morning and afternoon shifts.
But Greenfield said that an aggressive hiring campaign would bring in candidates. He also proposed raising their maximum pay.