By Mary O’KEEFE
Engineers from the Department of Los Angeles County Public Works joined Crescenta Valley Town Council member Robbyn Battles and California Highway Patrol Office Ming-Yang hsu on Tuesday for a traffic evaluation field trip.
Battles worked closely with the public works department last year to bring some safety changes to Monte Vista Elementary including a new crosswalk, cut hedges near streets to improve visibility, an extended sidewalk and she arranged for an additional school drop off site at Two Strike Park.
She and Officer hsu have now targeted three more areas for traffic evaluation: Rosemont Avenue in front of Rosemont Middle School, El Sereno and Mountain avenues near Mountain Avenue Elementary and Foothill Boulevard and Glenwood Avenue above Crescenta Valley High School and La Crescenta Elementary.
On Tuesday the team of traffic evaluators were at Glenwood Avenue and Foothill Boulevard in the afternoon as CVHS students were walking home.
“You got all the Rosemont [Middle School] traffic coming down [west] on Foothill and CVHS and [La Crescenta] Elementary coming up to Foothill,” Battles said.
All the traffic crossing and turning and all the while pedestrians, mostly students, play a waiting game to cross. As the team watched kids would begin to leave the curb, then pull back. Drivers in one lane would stop while others flew through the crosswalk.
At one point Officer hsu had to talk to one of the students who began to walk using the crosswalk then darted in a diagonal to another side.
For the most part however the danger seem to come from drivers not pedestrians taking risks.
Natalia Acosta, a tenth grader from CVHS, was one of the students that use the crosswalk at Glenwood Avenue regularly. She and a friend first waited to find a break in the traffic, but none came. They then made small advances into the crosswalk, paused for cars that did not stop then finally ran across the street. Acosta said this crosswalk dance is sometimes scary.
“I am afraid sometimes. I try to wait for a big break in the traffic but I have to get home,” she said.
She has seen kids come close to getting hit and have been walking across the street when cars don’t stop until the last minute.
“Sometimes they come all the way into the crosswalk. It’s like they don’t see me,” she added.
One of the problems that Anish Saraiya, senior civil engineer for public works, is looking at is the visibility. Battles pointed out that because of the slope of the road and the light pole at the end of the crosswalk on the south side of Foothill Boulevard it is difficult to see anyone who is preparing to cross.
The team had done the same type of evaluation at Rosemont Middle School and near Mountain Avenue.
“It’s hard to find a solution when [parents dropping their kids off] are the problem,” Saraiya said.
Saraiya is in the process of review what they have learned from their traffic field trips and will have a plan put together.
“We work closely with the CHP and [CVTC],” he added.