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Letter: Safety trumps all at street crossing

September 30, 2013

Bob Meeker’s guest column (“Getting cross with a crossing guard,” Sept. 19) prompted a nice exchange of ideas between the two of us, but I must state a few words on behalf of the crossing guard he wrote about.

My children have attended St. Bede and St. Francis schools continuously from 1993 to the present and given the proximity of these schools to the crosswalk, I have seen a lot. This crosswalk poses challenges unlike any other. Multiple area schools starting/ending classes at roughly the same time each day, JPL commuter traffic, and the “Michigan Hill” that prohibits clear viewing of up-hill traffic/the crosswalk for both drivers and pedestrians. Clearly, the majority of drivers through this area are considerate and vigilant; they readily obey the crossing guard’s upraised stop sign and they put student safety first. But there are harried/late parents, students, and commuters who are distracted or rushed, and I have seen many near-misses. When I have made the crossing in her absence I have had my own scares with drivers almost running me down.

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Meeker gave me examples of unacceptable behavior by the guard (unwarranted yelling or traffic stopping) and while I have never myself seen such behavior, it cannot be endorsed. On the other hand, could such behavior have been triggered by an earlier, unsafe-driver episode? The crossing guard is sometimes dramatic but I believe that her “stern admonishments” shock the offending drivers into future caution. As I regularly tell my kids who feel I am harsh for honking at drivers who run the stoplight at Foothill/Chevy Chase, it takes just one blaring horn to make that driver alert the next time. 

As a parent whose son uses the St. Francis crosswalk at least twice daily, I appreciate the actions of an alert crossing guard. In the end, safety must trump everything else.

Monday, a new crossing guard was stationed at the St. Francis crosswalk. Tuesday, in front of my stopped car, a non-uniformed, high-school-aged male BLEW through the crosswalk with the guard at the mid-point median, stop sign upraised and fully visible. My son was in the crosswalk this time. Next time could it be yours?

Cindy Lupica
La Cañada Flintridge

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