LOWER MANHATTAN — After a long push by parents, school advocates and local officials — as well as a public outcry following a hit-and-run outside of a school last year — every elementary school in Lower Manhattan is getting a crossing guard.
New York State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick announced Tuesday that the NYPD has agreed to permanently assign a school crossing guard or other uniformed officers to Downtown's six public elementary schools — P.S. 234, P.S. 89, P.S. 150, P.S. 278, the Spruce Street School and the Peck Slip School — as well as private schools Léman Manhattan Prep and Cooke Center School, a special education school in SoHo.
The plan goes into effect immediately, according to Glick's announcement.
The plan comes after parents have long pressed to ensure that every school had a crossing guard, especially in the wake of a hit-and-run last April that left one woman injured after a car jumped a curb outside of the Spruce Street School, which sits at the base of the Gehry Building on 8 Spruce St.
The school had already been calling on the NYPD for years to hire a crossing guard for the block — the April 2015 accident came three years after a UPS worker was killed by an SUV that jumped the curb on on the same block.
In response to community pressure, the Department of Transportation placed a traffic light on the corner of Beekman and William streets, as well as street markings to help slow traffic, but there was no crossing guard.
Spruce Street recently got its guard, who for now is a uniformed NYPD officer on Beekman Street, months after police promised last fall to move forward with placing a guard.
"I'm thrilled, it's definitely needed," said Stacey Kurylo, a parent at Spruce Street. "After years and years of parents living in fear they are finally making a commitment."
Parents at the Peck Slip School, which opened last fall at the corner of Peck Slip and Pearl Street, a busy, four-lane road near the ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge and the FDR Drive where cars often speed by, had also been pushing for a guard.
Police previously blamed the delays in placing guards near schools on a shortage of school crossing guards. But as part of this announcement, the NYPD will fill the gaps with traffic agents or a uniformed officer until they find a qualified guard, according to the announcement.
However, the crossing guard unions have disputed the NYPD's explanation for the shortage, saying it's actually due to low pay — the base salary was raised from $9.88 to $11.50 last year — and lack of health benefits over the summer.