Drivers may notice a few extra memorials in front of Chadakoin Park when driving by. One thing they won't notice in front of it, however, is a crosswalk.
On Tuesday, 45 city residents gathered outside of Chadakoin Park on Washington Street to spread the message that enough is enough. The group believes that too many people have been injured already and the potential for more injuries to occur will remain until something is done to stop traffic for crossing pedestrians.
Tom and Elizabeth McCrady, who are the leaders of the movement they are calling "crosswalks or crosses," have already written the state Department of Transportation begging for a crosswalk to be installed in front of the park. However, so far they have not seen any progress made.
A few dozen city residents gathered outside Chadakoin Park on Washington Street on Tuesday to protest the need for a crosswalk.
P-J photo by Remington Whitcomb
The park, which is mostly utilized by youths for its skate park and basketball courts, is located near the conjunction of Washington and 13th streets. However, the segment of Washington Street starting at the intersection of 10th Street and ending at Tops plaza contains zero crosswalks. Both Tom and Elizabeth believe this is outrageous for any busy street, much less one that contains a children's park.
As a means to spread awareness, the McCradys purchased 30 T-shirts with the slogan "crosswalks or crosses" on them. All of the T-shirts were passed out to concerned residents during the gathering.
One of the residents attending the gathering was Sheldon Harper, the daughter of Terry Harper, who was killed on June 18 while crossing Washington Street.
"It's such a shame," said Harper. "There are so many people who could become so many things, but all it takes is once accident and they're gone forever. When you're not paying attention, you could take their life so easily I've witnessed that first-hand with my father. It's horrible that (this gathering) needs to happen, but at the same time it's wonderful that (Tom McCrady) is doing this and that so many people showed up. I don't even know most of them. They're just here to support because they feel the same way."
Harper said she finds it very hard to digest that her father has been killed and two others have been severely injured crossing Washington Street and yet nothing has been done to remedy the situation.
"It makes me really angry that nothing has been done yet," said Harper. "I just want to scream, 'how many times does this need to happen before people realize that this is not good.' It's absolutely ridiculous. How hard would it be to block this off and paint a crosswalk here? There seems to be plenty of time to (perform construction on other roads), but they can't put a crosswalk where several people have been hit? It just doesn't make sense to me.
"It's been really hard (since I lost my father)," continued Harper. "But it's been a lot more bearable because of people like (those who gathered) that don't know you or don't have a connection to you but are still willing to put in time to make you feel better about what happened. It's a lot easier with this many people trying to help."
One such concerned resident who came to show her support was Angela Thomas, who lives with her children nearby.
"I have four children that utilize this park three to four times a week and it's very nerveracking to know how fast cars go through here. The fact that (my children) are walking across a street that doesn't have a crosswalk makes it that much worse."
In addition to passing out T-shirts, the McCradys were also accepting donations to help those who have been injured. Additionally, they encouraged everyone who is willing to write to the state Department of Transportation to urge them to install a crosswalk to help make Washington Street safer.
"You can't force people to drive safer, but you can put up signs and lights and crosswalks and punish the people that drive recklessly," said a resident who wished to remain anonymous. "Until we find a solution to this problem, everyone, at all levels, is guilty for what happens."
Concerned residents who wish to help get a crosswalk installed in front of Chadakoin Park are encouraged by the McCradys to write to the state DOT at: State of New York Department of Transportation Region Five, 100 Seneca Five, Buffalo, N.Y. 14203, Attn: Thomas S. Messana.
Additionally, the McCradys are in the process of setting up an account to receive donations towards their charitable cause "crosswalks or crosses" at the Jamestown Area Community Federal Credit Union. Those who are interested in making a donation may send them to JACFCU attn: crosswalks or crosses.