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Hyde Park Gets Safe Passage, Despite No Schools Closing

By Sam Cholke | September 6, 2013 7:53am
 Safe Passage signs in Hyde Park have baffled some residents.
Safe Passage signs in Hyde Park have baffled some residents.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — The streets of Hyde Park now have Safe Passage signs, even though the neighborhood has no closing or receiving schools.

Residents were baffled when signs went up on South Cornell Avenue, Kimbark Avenue, 55th Street and other neighborhood streets.

“The Safe Passage signs are supposed to mark the path that school children will follow to the new receiving school but according to the map released by CPS, there are no receiving schools in Hyde Park or Kenwood,” said Bob Drinan, who lives close to Bret Harte Elementary, 1556 E. 56th St.

According to Chicago Public Schools, the signs were installed in preparation for the final phase out of Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave., next year.

Principal Colleen Conlan said there was little confusion in the first week of school as seventh-graders moved to Ray and Bret Harte elementary schools instead of Canter.

According to CPS, the signs are meant to direct students to Harte or Ray, though many were already attending those schools.

Other residents have lambasted the early preparations as a waste.

“Well, the one they put up in front of our house is about 10 feet from where our car was stolen a week ago,” John Wikstrom, who lives on Dorchester Avenue, wrote in a letter to the editor in the Hyde Park Herald. “This so-called protection program is costing the taxpayers almost $12 million.”

Nearly 50 sixth-graders from Shoesmith Elementary School, close to Canter at 1330 E. 50th St., are starting at the expanded seventh grade at Ray this year, according to Shoesmith Principal Sabrina Gates.

Despite the new signs, few Safe Passage workers have been seen monitoring the paths to Ray or Harte.