Bells toll for La Cañada students

La Cañada Flintridge’s annual great migration started anew Tuesday as local parents and students returned to public school campuses for the first day of the 2012-13 school year.

Parents taking their children to kindergarten for the first time stepped into classrooms to take pictures of their kids surrounded by desks and educational tools. La Cañada High School students arrived on campus with less fanfare, though many of the junior girls had emerged from their homes Tuesday to find their front yards decorated with toilet paper.

The return of school means the return of school traffic, and members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department took to the streets to remind those on the road during drop-off and pick-up times to be careful. Deputies will be watching, said Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Capt. David Silversparre.

“We want to make sure parents understand driver safety and the procedures the schools have in place,” Silversparre said. “All the patrol units have been asked to patrol all the … various schools at various times all day long.”

Silversparre said that deputies’ first priority is to help drivers, but they also are enforcing traffic rules.

“Driver education is first and paramount,” he said. “But citations do get issued, and sometimes one citation educates a lot of parents, because they talk.”

Palm Crest Elementary parents are picking up where they left off last year, as construction is not yet complete on a nearby bridge over Jessen Drive. Parents are still required to follow the new traffic design put in place by the district in March of this year, when work began.

During school hours, the Palm Crest parking lot on Palm Drive can only be entered via a left turn by northbound cars. Exiting vehicles must turn right, heading south on Palm.

Parents heading west on Fairmont Avenue must pass the school, make a U-turn before the bridge, and drop their students off at a designated area on Jessen.

For a complete list of directions, visit and click on the Palm Crest Elementary School tab.

The city had hoped to have the bridge completed by the beginning of the school year, but La Cañada Flintridge City Engineer Ying Kwan said scheduling conflicts pushed the date back. He said the city aims to have the bridge completed by Oct. 1.

-- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

-- Bill Kisliuk, Times Community News

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