Best Practices in East Los Angeles
April 30, 2011 Leave a comment
Greenwood Elementary School in Montebello, Ca
By Manuel Zavala, Outreach Coordinator
Yesterday I visited Montebello’s Greenwood Elementary, one of two schools in the city to receive Safe Routes to School funding in 2007, to see their pedestrian safety practices in action. Greenwood addresses the needs of its pedestrian population by providing a crossing guard, as well as infrastructure to help alert drivers to pedestrians within the area (especially small children).
The crossing guard at the rear entrance of the school provides much needed structure in a high vehicle and pedestrian traffic area that does not have stop signs. Minerva, the school’s crossing guard, explained that many parents walk their children to school at Greenwood because they simply do not have the means to transport them to school by car.
With this in mind, if walking is a main means of transportation, it is important that those citizens be represented within programs and infrastructure, encouraging walking, and allowing pedestrians to feel safe.
Parts of the cool new infrastructure include signage and in-pavement flashers, activated when pedestrians approach the crosswalk. Although Greenwood’s rear entrance has a crossing guard and in-pavement flashers, additional improvements can still be made.
Room for Improvement
Minerva explained that there used to be a crossing guard at each intersection surrounding the school — the other intersections are located near larger streets that accommodate faster cars and can be more dangerous. Minerva described a couple of near accidents she witnessed at an intersection that used to be accompanied by a crossing guard.
Reporting and documenting such incidents with the City, before injuries ensue, will help to prioritize safety infrastructure projects. And keeping a focus on accident prevention, as well as promoting community involvement, will be key in allocating funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.