Paving the way for students

County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works employees were busy this week constructing handicap ramps, curbs and sidewalks along Orange Avenue near Monte Vista School.

By Brandon HENSLEY

This upcoming school year at Monte Vista Elementary School, it won’t be where the sidewalk ends, but rather where it finally begins.
Construction on a new sidewalk started this week just northwest of the school located at 2620 Orange Ave., at El Adobe. Previously, children walking eastbound on the north side of the street approaching the crosswalk at El Adobe and Orange had to walk in the street to reach the crosswalk. They often had to maneuver around cars parked in the red zone.
“There was no place for the kids to go. They would walk in the gutter,” said Crescenta Valley  Town councilwoman Robbyn Battles, whose daughter attends Monte Vista.
Now, with the new sidewalk expected to be completed this week, there is one problem solved in an area where there could be more.
“We’re excited,” Battles said. “It’s going to keep our kids much safer.”
“Anything that increases the safety of our children we are happy to have done,” said Glendale Unified School District board member Mary Boger. “A lot of the streets up there don’t have sidewalks so the addition of the sidewalk is good news for our kids.”
Plans for a new sidewalk had been in the works for over a year. Battles said she and other councilmembers, members of the department of public works, and Monte Vista Principal Susan Hoge took a walk down Orange Avenue and made a list of things that needed to be worked on.
Battles said it took many calls, and eventually one to County Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s office to really get public works to listen to the community. Finally, five months ago, Battles was notified that the sidewalk was going in.
“What that does is it makes it much more visible, it now gives [the kids] a sidewalk to stand on, and now when they cross in the crosswalk they don’t have to back out into the street and play dodgeball with the cars,” she said.
In addition, handicap ramps will be installed in the north and south sides of Orange Avenue.
Still, Battles said there is more to be done around the area. The traffic at Rosemont Middle School is a problem, specifically behind the school. Efforts are currently being made to think of solutions for that problem.
“Our streets aren’t built for all this traffic,” she said.
There is also still the issue of speed bumps along Orange Avenue, which would be in front of Monte Vista. A bulk of the residents would like them put in because of not only speeding parents who sometimes swerve past others, but also late-night drivers who go beyond the speed limit.
The other side of that argument is that the fire department would prefer less speed bumps, and cars going over them, especially at night, make a lot of noise.
Boger said there have been talks in the past about beefing up law enforcement which has led to  violations such as illegal U-turns, “So I can that the sheriff and highway patrol have been very cooperative in helping us address safety issues.”
There is currently an alternate drop-zone for Monte Vista students at Two Strike Park. Battles said one idea for Rosemont students is for that location to be a mandatory drop-zone.
In any case, the sidewalk at Monte Vista at least represents a victory for many parents and residents, and perhaps the tip of the iceberg.
“I don’t think there’s anything more important than our kids safety,” said Battles. “We should not be forcing our kids to walk in the street they’re just trying to go to and from school.”
The Crescenta Valley Town Council can be reached for any comments or concerns at its website