Reader offers school zone etiquette observations

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Interesting to read your column about the crosswalk at Soquel School on Porter Street (3/12/12). That is one bad area for traffic when school is starting or letting out. The traffic lights at the intersections before and after the school are already set poorly and the traffic is bad even at times the kids aren't crossing the street. My gripe is that the crosswalk guard goes out into the street and stops traffic before children are even near the corner. If she sees kids coming from up the street, off she goes into the crosswalk to stop traffic even though the kids aren't even near the street yet. The cars are then forced to wait and wait and wait while the kids dawdle to get to the crosswalk. And then, if the guard sees more kids up the street, she stays in the crosswalk blocking the traffic, even though the kids are still a good distance away. This, along with all the cars trying to get in and out of the school to drop off their kids, ties up traffic unnecessarily. My suggestion is that the crosswalk guard has kids wait on the sidewalk until the whole group is there and then cross with them all at once. If there is a straggler or two, wait until they catch up with the group and then cross all together. This would also help cut down on those running across the street as they would have to wait and 'settle down' before crossing. Also, those folks bringing their kids to school in cars could drop them off on the back side of the school -- I don't know the name of that street -- where there is ample space to park and access to the sidewalk and entrance to the school without having to cross a street. This would dramatically cut down on the traffic congestion on Porter Street and keep the traffic flow moving better. A concerned and frustrated driver A: "It's hard to make everyone happy but I'll keep this feedback in mind as my goal is to keep kids safe & drivers happy," said Maria Parrish, the school's crossing guard.
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