Police step up presence

Officers respond to safety concerns at school by handing out more traffic citations to drivers in a hurry.

October 31, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

WEST BURBANK — After calls from parents and administrators complaining of near-miss vehicle accidents at and around school campuses, authorities this week beefed up parking and traffic enforcement.

Police officers, after several near misses at Bret Harte Elementary and a recent accident at Luther Burbank Middle School, began cracking down on double parkers, speeders and parents running stop signs, Sgt. Robert Quesada said.

Parking enforcement and motor officers issued multiple citations this week after the Police Department agreed to target jaywalkers and wayward motorists, he said.


“Almost every week I get parents who call me and tell me about near misses,” Bret Harte Principal Sheari Taylor. “If I had a perfect world, I would have parents circle the block because they know that they need to keep moving. They know their child will be there when they get back. It’s a matter of following through.”

Those caught violating the law after the fact will receive warnings so long as administrators are able to identify them, according to an agreement with school resource officers.

Struggles with compliance is nothing new on school campuses across the city, many of which were built decades ago in less crowded neighborhoods surrounded by streets with slower speed limits.

More parents opt to drop children off on the way to work rather than walk. Recent traffic scares have only made them more hesitant to let students brave the streets alone, said parent Dawn Long.

Officials in the spring approved an interim crossing guard for a six-way intersection long considered by Edison Elementary School students and their parents as one of the city’s most dangerous pedestrian areas.

A string of increased traffic measures have been put in place across the region after a distracted motorist last year struck and killed an 11-year-old girl in front of Glendale’s Toll Middle School, which is neighbored by an elementary school and a high school.

“It’s people not thinking,” said Long, who walks her 7-year-old daughter, Aurora, to board a bus to Theodore Roosevelt Elementary.

Despite staggered pick-up and drop-off times at Bret Harte, where students are released at opposite sides of the building to minimize congestion, parents continue to double park and call children into the street, and make illegal three-point turns instead of circling the block.

Others line up in no-parking zones, Taylor said.

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