Parents call for safety changes near school

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Parents in the Bay Park area say the roadways out front of their children's school are dangerous.

They’re calling for the city to make changes outside of Longfellow Elementary before any kids get hurt.

"We’ve literally had parents having to jump back from cars, stop cars from hitting children they aren't paying attention to,” said parent Jennifer Ragusa.

Regusa said her kids are some of those whose kids are constantly dodging cars.

“Often cars do not stop for our kids, they just come right through or they’ll creep up on the kids,” she said.

Regusa said she started to raise the red flag about traffic safety issues back in 2012.

She tells 10News she asked for more crosswalks and safety zones around the school.

"All of that was declined by the city,” she said. “At that time they decided that it wasn't necessary."

Fast forward to June of this year.

Regusa's friend, Jennifer Jones, was crossing the street to pick her kids from school when a truck hit her. She died from her injuries a few days later.

"She was an amazing member of our Bay Park and Clairemont communities,” she said.

With the new school year a month in, Regusa acknowledges some safety changes were made, but not enough to satisfy parents trying to protect their kids.

"I think the area's dangerous,” she said.

One man who lives in the neighborhood tells 10News he agrees that the area is dangerous, but blamed traffic issues on the parents dropping off and picking up their kids.

In a statement to 10News a spokesperson for the city wrote:

“City staff have listened and continue to respond to the community’s concerns. In addition to the improvements already implemented, City traffic engineers are evaluating possible traffic calming measures for the streets and intersections immediately surrounding the school.”

They added, “The City’s Transportation Engineering Operations Division is responsible for designing and implementing these improvements.”

In its statement, the city included the list of improvements it has made, along with tasks they are evaluating.

These are the traffic tasks that have already been completed:

  • Convert existing crosswalk at July Street/Burgener Boulevard into a “continental/ladder” style crosswalk. (completed 8/10/2017)
  • Replace old “school ahead” signage with newer florescent sign along Burgener Boulevard. (completed 7/19/2017)
  • Replace old “school ahead” signage and 25 school speed limit sign with newer signage along Milton Street. (completed 7/19/2017)
  • Replace old “school” sign with newer school sign along Grandview Street. (completed 7/19/2017)
  • Replace old “school” sign with newer school sign along July Street. (completed 7/19/2017)
  • Replace old “school” signage with newer signs along Cowley Way. (completed 9/19/2017)

These are the traffic tasks that the City has already created work orders for and will be installed.

  • Replace existing crosswalk at Cowley Way/July Street into a “continental/ladder” style crosswalk.

These are the traffic tasks that the City is currently evaluating:

  • Evaluate for a traffic signal at July Street/Burgener Boulevard.
  • Evaluate for an all-way stop at Deerpark Drive/July Street.
  • Evaluate for marked crosswalk at Deerpark Drive/July Street.
  • Evaluate for traffic calming (speeding) along July Street between Cowley Way and Milton Street.
  • Evaluate for traffic calming (speeding) along Burgener Boulevard between Milton Street and August Street.
  • Evaluate for an all-way stop at Cowley Way/July Street.
  • Evaluate to convert Milton Street/Burgener Boulevard into a typical “T intersection”.

Parents have been complimentary of the school and school districts input to safety.

In a statement to 10News, a spokesperson for San Diego Unified School District wrote:

“San Diego Unified has received comments and concerns regarding traffic safety from families of Longfellow students and from the surrounding community, which only increased after the tragic accident in July.

While streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic safety and enforcement fall under the City of San Diego’s jurisdiction, the school district has been working with representatives of the city and community members concerned about this issue.

In August, district representatives met with representatives from the city to discuss these safety concerns. The district understands the city has installed new signs and a continental ladder crosswalk near Longfellow and is currently conducting a traffic study.

San Diego Unified will continue to work with the city and members of the public to improve safety on city streets surrounding Longfellow.”

UPDATE:

Parents tell 10News a city official says studies on traffic were completed and recommendations based on the evaluations should be ready no later than the first week of November. 

One parent says she was told that immediate items that can be ordered include “Stop Ahead” signs with lights to draw attentions to the stop signs.  They say the city will also look at adding lights to the speed limit signs to let drivers know there is a school area approaching.

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