By Stan Lynch
Elementary school parents are crazy — at least some of them are when it comes to dropping off and picking up their children from school.
Each morning when I take my granddaughter to school and pick her up in the afternoon, I am amazed at how many parents appear to turn off their brains as they enter the school zone. I’m sure this happens at elementary schools all over town, and not just at her school, Thomas Edison Elementary.
I’ve observed parents park at the red curb, stop in the middle of the street and wait, block the crosswalks and handicap ramps, and block driveways. Apparently they forgot, or don’t care, that a red curb means no parking or STOPPING. Red curbs are near corners to allow drivers to better see pedestrians crossing the street. Apparently their child not having to walk far to the car is more important to them than someone else’s child getting run over because a driver didn’t see them step into the crosswalk.
In the past week I have seen one mom park in the middle of an intersection, blocking one lane of traffic on the cross street. She got out of her car and walked across the street to wait for her child to get out of school, oblivious to the cars backed up behind her car. Another parent parked so that everyone had to walk around their car because it was blocking the crosswalk.
Some of the worst offenders are the parents who park across the street and motion for their child to go between the parked cars and run across the street. Others just drive by, stop in the traffic lane, and holler (or honk) for the child to run and jump in the car. Impeding traffic like that is a moving violation.
Like a lot of parents, I discovered if you park down the street from the school and walk a block to the school, you avoid all the hassles and dangers around the front of the school. Besides, walking is supposed to be healthy for you and your child.
At Edison (and I’m sure at other schools) we have a “Safe Delivery” program in place. Older students supervised by adults, stand at the curb in a designated area, and assist students getting out of cars. Parents simply pull into the coned off delivery lane, let their child out of the car at the curb, then continue on their way. It’s fast, efficient, and safe. The students participating in the program receive safety training from the Burbank Police Department.
Still there are parents who just don’t get it. I saw one man try to squeeze his car between the drop-off area exit sign and the curb so he could park in the red zone. He knocked over the sign, but at least the sign scratched his car as it fell. (There is some justice in the world.) Another parent pulled their SUV into the driveway of one of the homes across the street from school, then got out and ran across the street, heading towards the school office. Talk about the nerve of some people.
Complaints to the Burbank Police Department’s Traffic Bureau have resulted in Parking Enforcement Officers coming by and citing illegally parked cars. One officer told me the other morning that she had written over 30 red curb tickets, but had observed many more that she couldn’t get to. Perhaps getting a ticket will make them change their ways, but I doubt it.
What is really needed is for police motorcycle officers to cruise by each school in town and write some tickets. The appearance of a police officer seems to have a positive effect on people’s driving habits. An expensive ticket is a real incentive to not do something illegal again. I know those officers are busy, but isn’t our children’s safety more important?
Unfortunately, it will take a child being injured or killed before some parents wake up and realize that they need to start obeying the law and watching out for the safety of every student.