Lawrenceville students learn value of public action

In March and April of 2020, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) installed a pedestrian crossing light at the intersection of Eggerts Crossing Road and Route 206 in Lawrenceville. The intersection had been the scene of several serious accidents. The light installation was a long time coming; the result of many years of hard work by LIS students. The Lawrenceville students hope that the new light will reduce or eliminate accidents at this dangerous intersection.

Long prior to the approval and installation of the crossing light, LIS students worked with the St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center and the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Authority to conduct research on the local roads. The students walked on Eggerts Crossing Road to observe traffic patterns and problem areas.

Once the research was done, the students outlined several issues with the road and drafted a petition to send to New Jersey Commissioner of Transportation Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, asking the NJDOT to fix the problems. The petition garnered over 500 signatures of LIS students and the principal.

But the students didn’t stop there.

In June 2019, LIS students Ayden Anderson, Sienna Becker, Slavi Dusichka, Sofia Garmise, Hema Gujjar, Rory Laubach, Ginger Ryan, Mia Swingle, Nathan Tepper, with guidance from their teacher Jessica Heller, presented their findings to the Lawrence Township mayor and council. They drafted as script for their presentation and created a trifold display to advance the arguments that ultimately, along with their petition to the NJDOT, led to the installation of the light.

It is important to acknowledge the many years of hard work by former LIS students. For six years LIS students annually presented suggestions for improving safety at this dangerous intersection to the town council. Each of these groups of children put forth their best efforts, and it finally paid off.

“Without the diligent effort of students who focused on making this busy intersection safer for pedestrians, it may have never happened,” Heller said. “The students involved in this project learned about civic action and the power of their voice in creating positive change in their community.”

This article was written by Lawrenceville students Slavi Dusichka, Stella DeJesus, Hema Gujjar, Ginger Ryan, Nathan Tepper, Danielle Marcelin, Rory Laubach, Sofia Garmise, and Mia Swingle, with assistance from teacher Jessica Heller.

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