The Rush is On
I love that fall commercial for one of the office supply stores where the music playing is the traditional holiday song, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and a dad is pushing a shopping cart down the aisles, picking out back to school supplies with a huge smile on his face while his children are dragging behind. It captures the feeling of many parents who have had their fill of summertime togetherness and are ready to embrace the schedule that school represents. Because it’s here: back to school for the Glendale Unified School District is on Monday.
You may have already seen some busy-ness around local schools, especially the middle and high schools that are hosting welcome days for new students. Being president of Prom Plus, I stopped over at MacDonald Auditorium at Crescenta Valley High School on Tuesday morning where Mary O’Keefe (who is a Prom Plus co-vice president) had a chance to show a quick video of the after prom party to the packed, standing room only crowd.
But the slight increase in traffic experienced this week is nothing compared to what’s going to hit on Monday. Areas around schools – and trying to find an area that is not around a school is difficult – are going to be congested with people trying to get their children to school on time. This includes parents who are driving their children to a new school for the first time and may be clueless as to where they’re going. And on the first day of elementary schools, most PTAs host a “Howdy Coffee” that invites parents into the auditorium so they can get the rundown on what the school year holds. This means that parking around schools is going to be impossible because parents will be parking their cars and walking to the school rather than just dropping off their child.
Needless to say, the abrupt change in traffic patterns can be rather annoying. I mean, we’ve enjoyed several weeks of little to no traffic in the mornings and afternoons. Getting to work or traveling around town has been pretty uneventful. That, my friends, is about to change.
As of Monday, it’s going to take double or even triple the amount of time to make it onto the freeway in the morning. Ditto for traversing near a school in the morning or afternoon when children are being dropped off or picked up.
My point is to remind drivers of these changes so they are not caught in a web of frustration. Every school year, the CV Weekly hears of kids almost hit near schools as drivers weave their way around cars that are stopped to pick up or drop off kids. If a car is stopped, there’s a reason. Do not go around.
We’ve also had the unfortunate duty of reporting when kids have actually been struck. Just a couple of years ago, a helicopter landed on Rosemont Middle School’s upper field to transport a child who had been hit nearby. And our crossing guards literally take their lives in their hands when shepherding children across the street as impatient drivers try to speed around them before the light turns.
Remember too that kids are not usually thinking about their own safety. How often have you seen a kid wearing earbuds, totally oblivious to everything around them – including cars barreling down on them?
As unbelievable as this may sound, parents are just as guilty of this erratic behavior. Many seem to think that once they’ve dropped off their child, it’s time to slam on the accelerator.
Let’s work together to ensure the safety of all of our children this school year. Patience is the keyword – and preparation. Give yourself that extra time so you’re relaxed.
Maybe turn on some Chris Botti. His jazz song “Drive” from his album Slow Down the World would probably be an appropriate choice.