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I ride past an elementary school on my way to work each morning, and most mornings I observe some minor traffic infraction. Typically vehicles failing to yield when pulling out or into the school and blocking the sidewalk or failing to yield to pedestrians in the sidewalk. Traffic moves slowly, so it appears that the thinking is that the usual traffic rules do not apply. Instead traffic on the street, pedestrians, and bicycles are expected to yield to the drivers pulling in and out of the school. Traffic is slow, but it can still hurt someone on a bike or pedestrian. Drivers at this location have also harassed me.
I have tried contacting the school and the City of Beaverton traffic enforcement but got no response. I suggested that the school place a reminder to yield to pedestrians in their newsletter. I have heard from others that schools are generally a good place for bad driver behavior. Anyone else having similar issues? Advise on what could be done?
It would be nice to see kids walking and riding their bikes to school instead of riding in the SUV parade.
01-10-2008, 11:20 AM
I sent an email to the school principal when I was almost struck riding by Cedar Park Middle School. I suggested that she mention it to all her staff AND put a notice in the next school newsletter. She replied positively and promptly, much to my surprise :)
It may be that it is time to call the district office and get a notice in the newsletter the district mails out from time to time as well.
I used to ride by an elementary school every morning. After a bit I realized that with all the distracted parents, employees, kids and passers-by that it was one of the more dangerous places on my route (second only to the Broadway, MLK, Williams et al. area). My solution was to redefine my route when school is in session. I now travel an additional four blocks and no longer have to worry about being run down by a distracted parent on a cell phone wit a pack of screaming kids....my suggestion is to refine your route selection.
If that can't be done then keep making noise until someone gets annoyed enough to do something. Squeaky wheels and grease, etc..
Avoiding schools is possible, but it just feels too sad to admit that school zones are unsafe for bikes and pedestrians. Shouldn't school zones be safe places for bikes and pedestrians. I will try contacting the district safety office and see if we can begin to influence the situatioin near our schools.
It sure would be nice to see more kids on bikes. I have very fond memories of riding as a child and carrying my lttle boy to daycare on the back of my bike.
I tried contacting the Beaverton School District Office of Safety and Security, the Beaverton School Pristrict, the school directly and the Beaverton police Traffic safety. No responce.
I think I was polite and simply requested that they place a reminder in school news letters home to parents to watch for bikes and pedestrians as they pull in and out of the school to drop off their children. Beaverton School District has a web page for terrorism but nothing regarding safe driving. I did learn that half of all childrern hit on the way to school are struck by other parents driving there kids to school. Sad.
It's not sad, it's absurd.
Keep working on the the principal and/or PTA at the school and see if you have any better luck. Skip the system-wide administrative layer out right, they probably are busy with other problems and won't do much until someone gets seriously hurt.
Alternatively keep complaining to the police or call the local news. I can see it now on Faux News: "Are your CHILDREN in DANGER? Grim Carnage (our man in the field) with Bloodletting at 11!!"
Oh yeah, I'd still avoid the area if possible.
02-02-2008, 08:18 PM
"I did learn that half of all childrern hit on the way to school are struck by other parents driving there kids to school." t27
t27, where'd you learn that?
02-02-2008, 09:20 PM
You could stake out one of the greater offending schools and video tape the "usual" morning chaos. Maybe speed it up to 2X and a few still frames of the near misses. This needs to be be edited down to 2-1/2 minutes. Once you have strong enough evidence that the city leaders should be concerned, I would recommend bringing it before the city coucil in the non-agenda items part of the meeting (usually after the reading of the minutes from the last meeting). If you don't get a satisfatory response from the City Council, then you forward the video to the press.
The reason for the 2-1/2 minutes is that every citizen has a right to be heard for 3 minutes before the council
"Won't people behave themself in from of a camera?" No... Most will never notice you. It's not the kids screaming in the back seat distracting drivers, it's the getting to work on time that most people are concerned about. I see people leaving the schools and they are flying down the backstreets to get back into their que on the main streets. Total wreckless abandon! ...and you'd think a cop wanting to fill his quota would just be itching to intimidate these people... I don't get it!
So get out the camera and catch it on tape for a few days. You'll have your evidence to show the people that count. I you catch 3 near misses in one session, they won't ignore you.
An recent Oregon DMV news release included the following statement:
“Fifty percent of children who are hit by cars near schools are hit by cars driven by the parents of other students, according to Travel and Environmental Implications of School Siting, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report.”
I looked up the report and it is a typical long and dry government study discussing the air quality and environmental issues of shool related traffic and location of schools with pedestrian access. Mostly of interest to engineers and urban planners.
I am not much of videographer, but set to the right music, traffic could be very entertaining and informative. I may try a few picture when I can take pictures without a waterproof case. Spring is only a few months away.
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