CHAMPAIGN — Andrew Pelz will walk his daughter to school today — taking the new crosswalk that exists because of her.
It has been three months since 7-year-old Grace Pelz was struck by a car, breaking two bones in her leg, while crossing Prospect Avenue on her walk home from South Side Elementary School. That prompted city officials to add the crosswalk and a crossing guard, who will begin work today at the intersection of Prospect and Daniel Street and give parents like Pelz comfort that it's safe for their kids to walk the two blocks between home and school.
"Since the accident, we've been driving, but I think we'll give it a try (today) and see how she does," Pelz said Sunday night. "She still gets nervous about it."
The crossing guard will be at Prospect and Daniel from 8:15 to 8:45 a.m. and 3 to 3:30 p.m. on school days. Drivers who take Prospect during those times will also notice flashing lights alerting them of the new school zone speed limit between Green and Charles streets — 20 mph — when children are present.
"We realize (that) to some people, it may be an inconvenience, but it's for the safety of everyone traveling in that area — whether they're driving or walking or crossing the street or on a bike," said Champaign public works spokesman Kris Koester. "... Hopefully, over time, everyone will be aware of it, and we won't have any more incidents there."