LA CRESCENTA â€” Efforts to create a student drop-off zone at Two Strike Park for Monte Vista Elementary School could come closer to materializing after local representatives meet with county parks officials Thursday to discuss the proposal.
The plan is to have two drop-off areas for Monte Vista students, one in front of the school and the second one at Two Strike Park about two blocks away.
â€œIt is a lovely park with a great drive-through parking lot,â€ said Robbyn Battles, alternate Crescenta Valley Town Council member and Monte Vista mom.
The new system would not only relieve some of the traffic congestion at the school, but also promote a healthy walking lifestyle, she added.
Using Two Strike Park is just the latest proposal to alleviate pedestrian-vehicle traffic.
â€œI first thought we could use pedestrian flags,â€ Battles said.
Flags are placed at both ends of a crosswalk and pedestrians pick them up as they cross, creating more visibility. But on Monday, the Los Angeles County Council â€” the legal arm of the Board of Supervisors â€” informed the Crescenta Valley Town Council they would not approve the use of pedestrian flags for Monte Vista students due to liability issues, Battles said.
With the fight for flags lost, attention has refocused on the park, crosswalks and sidewalks.
â€œIt all really stemmed from the tragedy in Glendale,â€ Battles said of her drive for improved traffic safety measures around local school campuses.
In October, an 11-year-old girl was struck and killed in a crosswalk at Toll Middle School, then in January a student was transported to the hospital with injuries to her hip and leg after being struck in the crosswalk at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. In February, a Monte Vista student was bumped by a vehicle in the crosswalk at La Crescenta and Orange avenues.
â€œThese are signs that we need to do something,â€ Battles said.
The council has been working on traffic safety issues around all Crescenta Valley schools, pushing for the left and right turn lights at La Crescenta and Prospect avenues. Battles took on Monte Vista for her first traffic improvement because her daughter attends the school and she is familiar with traffic problems there.
â€œIf you just sit in your car and watch the drop-off at Montie Lane you will see how dangerous it is,â€ she said, referring to the drop-off lane in front of the school on Orange Avenue.
The area is coned off, but drivers often double park, allowing their children to run between cars to the sidewalk. They also make U-turns as they exit the drop-off area, causing more traffic problems for those traveling east and west on Orange Avenue.
Battles has been working closely with the school’s principal, Susan Hoge, and Hank Paz, traffic safety liaison for Glendale Unified School District.
â€œWe walked the streets around the school in mid-June,â€ Paz said. â€œWe also had the L.A. County Department of Traffic and Lighting with us that made some suggestions.â€
Battles said the problems at Monte Vista are common around all Los Angeles County schools in the foothills.
â€œWe all like living in the county with that rural feeling, but there are no sidewalks and that can be dangerous for our children,â€ she said.
Public works officials found areas where they could improve crosswalks and maybe eliminate others that lead students to an area without sidewalks.
The California Highway Patrol is scheduled to have a table at back-to-school night this fall to hand out brochures on traffic safety and talk to students and parents about the drop-off and pick-up situation.