Authorities Urge Driver Awareness, Caution as Thousands of Pasadena Children Head Back to School Next Week

Published : Friday, August 9, 2019 | 4:39 AM

Pasadena’s public school students will return to school on Monday, Aug. 12, changing hourly traffic patterns and lining the roads with the impetuousness that is youth, and the Pasadena Police Department is focused on making that return a safe one.

“We’re really accessible to the community in terms of trying to address the concerns of public schools and private schools,”said Lieutenant Mark Goodman of the Police Department’s Traffic Section. “We want to be as responsive as we can with the resources we have. Especially during the first couple of weeks of school, because everybody’s getting back into the swing of things.”

The Police Department spreads its resources a little thinner during back-to-school, he said, although the focus is on education rather than on ticket-writing enforcement.

“More than anything else, we really want to assist in getting people back into the routine,” said Goodman. “We find that, after the second week or so of parents and kids making their way to school, they adapt and get into the groove. We’re good after that.”

A typical change Pasadena police track from one academic year to the next are school pick-up and drop-off plans. The Department can post an officer on campus who can help with traffic direction and make a show of authority’s presence in those early hectic days.

“We encourage people to leave early so they’re not rushed or stressed out,” continued Goodman. “That really helps them in getting to where they need to be and not feeling like they have to park where they’re not supposed to, or stop where they’re not supposed to.”

Unfortunately, it bears repeating that school zones are places to slow down and stick to the 25 miles-per-hour speed limit. Similarly, drivers need to watch for bicycles ridden by youngsters.

There are specific locations on the PPD’s agenda.

One of them is Blair Middle School at 1201 S. Marengo Ave., which warrants a police presence the first few days back.

Another Pasadena Unified school upon which attention will be focused is San Rafael Elementary at 1090 Nithsdale Road.

“It’s located in an area with narrow streets and it’s very residential there,” said Goodman, “and so we like to help out the parents and the residents, get them squared away with the traffic plan and parking.”

Roosevelt Elementary School, 315 N Pasadena Ave., changed its ingress plan, he explained. “Last year we assisted them at Orange Grove Avenue and Rosemont Avenue with their drop-off and pick-up procedure and this year we’ll be doing the same.”

Washington Middle School in the 1500 block of North Raymond Avenue is another location where police will be lending a steadying hand to the pick-up-drop-off process.

“It’s just like anything else,” said Goodman. “A complacency can set in as we all get used to this new normal, and that can lead to people just being a little forgetful about driving in a school zone. Those sorts of issues crop up occasionally.”

While avoiding the term “danger season,” he said there is a “learning curve to the beginning of the school year, for instance, parents new to the school need to know it’s in session and should be on the lookout for increased traffic.”

Goodman said he is open to receiving information from school officials, teachers, parents and students about traffic issues by email at mgoodman@cityofpasadena.net

Pasadena Unified spokesperson Hilda Ramirez Horvath said the District “encourages parents to plan for transportation to and from schools so that students arrive on time and ready to learn.”

She said nine PUSD schools are part of the program knowns as Safe Routes to School, in partnership with the City of Pasadena and Day One for transportation and traffic safety awareness.

Walk to School Week, Ramirez Horvath said, will be marked the week of Sept. 30.

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