West Toledo mother petitioning for lower speed limit

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – After a 12 year old girl was hit by a car in a west Toledo neighborhood in April, concern grew over traffic and child safety.

On April 4, 12 year old Autumn Harmon was hit by a car, breaking her leg and jaw. Ever since that day, her mother, Tonya, has been on a mission to create some sort of change.

It got heated at moments during the Burroughs Neighborhood Organization Meeting Monday night as Tonya Williamson, mother of 12 year old Autumn, became passionate about wanting change in her neighborhood on Airport Highway.

"This to me, this is not an option, this has to be done." Tonya said as she explained the need for traffic safety reform.

Tonya says Autumn was hit by a car at the beginning of April, putting her in a wheelchair.

Looking for the quickest- but safest- results, Williamson found a possible solution, different from her original aspirations:

"We did get the petition wrote up for a crossing guard, we've talked to a lot of neighbors and what we have is what we've all decided would be the safest, best way to go about it. Instead of trying to change the speed limit or getting another cross walk put in. There's one here, we just need another crossing guard there next year to help them cross."

Williamson is collecting signatures for a petition, but she may be getting some help from the city of Toledo as well.

Two months ago, Gary Stookey with the division of transportation, conducted a traffic study in the Airport Highway and South Avenue area. Now, the city is looking at more than just the possibility of adding extra police patrols.

"One of the things that we're looking at possibly doing is making some modifications at south and airport to switch the phasing. Basically it allows the kids to get across without as much conflict from the cars; we're getting a lot of cars that are running red lights. We're going to flip some of the phasing so hopefully it will eliminate some of that." said Stookey.

Tonya says that is not enough, and she won't stop until she gets what she wants:

"There's going to be a crossing guard there next year or there are going to be a lot of parents up here with signs picketing, I won't send my child to school."

Tonya already has over 100 signatures on her petition. While she doesn't have a number goal, she is hoping the show of interest from other people in her neighborhood is enough to bring in an extra crossing guard.

Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.