First published in the Nov. 17 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
As much concern as there is about safety at our schools, based on my observations and actual policies, the priority of LCUSD seems to be on convenience for drivers as children go to and from school.
There is little regard for the safety of pedestrians or cyclists at any of the schools beyond a few crossing guards. Anyone who wants to ride a bike or walk to school has to contend with heavy traffic and speeding cars and, thus, few do despite obvious benefits.
This is not just a problem in La Cañada, but for the U.S. as a whole as evidenced by the increased deaths of cyclists and pedestrians in the past decade (up 43% from 2010 to 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). And certainly, there are options to reduce risk such as enforcement of traffic and parking rules, expanded school safety zones, protected entrances/exits for cyclists and pedestrians, smaller school populations, staggered school hours, dedicated bike lanes, etc.
Palm Crest Elementary, for example, has a pedestrian entrance at Tulip Tree Lane, which, unfortunately, has remained closed this year due to perceptions of danger along the narrow-fenced path. What about the real hazard of being hit by a car as children try to navigate the same space as cars? This closure exemplifies the myopic view of school safety by LCUSD administrators.
We need to take a hard look at our priorities and work collectively to reduce the very real risk posed by vehicles in our community.
La Cañada Flintridge