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Marin Elementary Parents Urged to Drive Slower Near School

After a teacher was nearly hit by a parent driver Wednesday morning, a school official issued a traffic safety request message to parents.

A Marin Elementary School official is asking parents to slow down and use caution when dropping students off at school after a teacher was almost hit by a Marin parent driver Wednesday morning.

“I know some days you are in a hurry to get your child to school on time; but, please slow down and be more aware while driving. Now the weather is changing and it's more difficult to see in the rain,” read a message from school Secretary Janet Nichols. In the message to parents, Nichols said a teacher walking to school was almost hit by a speedy parent.

Traffic safety issues near Marin Avenue were recently addressed, when the Albany City Council voted to safeguard the Marin-Santa Fe Intersection earlier this year.

“This request of slowing down and being more aware while driving is to keep everyone safe.”

What do you think should be done for pedestrian safety near Albany schools?

Jon Meyers December 06, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Things really can get crazy around Marin, on any of the three adjacent streets. Add to that people pulling in and out of parking spaces, whether legal or illegal, and it becomes a real mess. It can get even more complicated in the afternoon, when afterschool program vans are added into the mix, and there are no designated van parking zones.
Laila Kearney (Editor) December 07, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Do you think this is a problem at Albany schools in general or is it specific to Marin Elementary School?
David December 07, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Last Tuesday, around 8am, I stopped for a pedestrian crossing Marin at Curtis. The car behind me used the bike lane to pass me on the right (I was right behind them at the red light at Santa Fe,) and 3 cars going the opposite direction blew through the crosswalk. This area would be a great place to have a police officer giving tickets.
Senior A. Titude December 07, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Walking my dog early one morning as school was starting, I saw an Albany officer in a car. He tagged 3 cars while I was within proximity. Put an officer in place for a couple of weeks and that will raise awareness more than those electronic speed signs. Tag 'em consistently and it will get better. The crossing guards were cheering the officer!
Al Streit December 07, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I agree with the two immediate previous posters. It has been illegal for at least 2 years to make a right turn on red at any part of the Marin-Santa Fe intersection. Yet people make right turns against red all the time. WHERE oh WHERE is APD? Put a police officer there and he can write tickets all day long! Way, way, way back when Simmons was police chief, Albany had an area-wide reputation for enforcing traffic laws to the letter. Not any more, sorry to say!
Jon Meyers December 07, 2012 at 04:35 AM
@Laila - I can't comment on other schools, just Marin. The issues have been there quite awhile, just ask the parking and traffic safety committee.
Ross Stapleton-Gray December 07, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Marin is very close to two major through ways (Marin and Santa Fe), though the choking down of Santa Fe with the new intersection configuration may change things (and in some ways for the worse, as cars back up behind a single turning vehicle blocked by southbound traffic, or people in the east-side crossing). While Ocean View is near Buchanan, and Cornell is on Solano, they don't have as much of a major adjacent intersection thing. The one thing I do notice is that Bright Star doesn't seem to be contributing much to the problem... that school was Ms. R's big concern, and it was thankfully less one than might have been feared.
Albany Denizen December 07, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I can't speak for Marin, but I certainly can speak for Cornell, living across the street. A lot could be done, I think, to mitigate the traffic issues at Cornell. First, two speed bumps should be installed on Talbot - one across the street from the main entrance to the school and the other south of the portables, across from the playground. Maybe speed bumps on Cornell, too. Second, U-turns should be prohibited on the 900 blocks of Cornell and Talbot, where the school is. Third, "walking school bus," bike riding and walking should be promoted at least once a week instead of once a month. Classrooms could have competitions for the most riders and walkers, or there could be a set percentage for each class, which could be rewarded with juice bar parties. This is just for starters.
Marcia Walden December 07, 2012 at 05:08 PM
While my grandson attended Bright Star, it was strongly encouraged to walk from home or at least park far enough away from school so that children and parents made a peaceful entry into the work/school day. Maybe Marin school should give it a try.
Alan Eckert December 07, 2012 at 05:48 PM
A strictly "ticketing officer" (but available for backup and emergency purposes) would pay for her/his self if they continue to hit the "hot spots" and doesn't create a pattern out of where the sting sits. This intersection–heck, all of Marin–Buchanan, Peralta (that "speed hump" does almost nothing), San Pablo, & the streets behind Club Mallard are good places to start. In 2010, there were 1918 moving violation citations (http://albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=1066), down considerably from 4366 citations in 2009 (http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=892). I don't think people are driving better. There have just been fewer available police to sit in these locations for longer periods of time. Of course, after sitting through last night's first of 3 Complete Street meetings, perhaps there are other alternatives in street redesigns, but that is a lot of money and will require a lot of time to address every location, and people are in danger more immediately. I'd support unfreezing one of the police positions to have a focus on traffic safety, at least until we can figure out how to make them safer on their own merit.
suzanne baum December 07, 2012 at 06:01 PM
It's not that difficult to get 10 traffic cones and designate a carpool drop off lane, directly in front of Marin's main entrance, within these cones. It is free, takes only 2 parent volunteers and I have done it at two other schools. Cars enter, pull up to the front, the adult volunteer opens the car door for the child and they safely get out. Pretty simple.
JJMarieKK December 07, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Unsafe driving is occurring all over town. I have observed an increase in drivers running stop signs onto Marin, in front of schools, 4-way stops, everywhere. I am not talking about rolling stops, but drivers barely slowing as they approach and then hitting the accelerator. Just last night a driver turned onto Thousand Oaks off of Key Route without stopping at all. I don't know what to do. It just seems people care less and less for safety.
Brian Parsley December 08, 2012 at 07:50 AM
Irresponsible and reckless drivers, a majority of which are parents, are not just a Marin School problem.
Jenny Craik December 10, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Just this morning walking to Cornell with two 4th graders, we had a car run the red light at San Pablo and Washington right in front of us to then sit in traffic on the other side of the intersection; and then had a woman technically stop at a stop sign as we were crossing the street but then accelerate while we were still in the street, waving her hand at us, to make us walk faster I suppose. It's just ridiculous! Are you really going to get where you are going THAT much faster by that kind of driving behavior? Really, you gain seconds, and it's not worth the risk.
Tanya Grove December 11, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I'm curious if the parent who almost hit the teacher has a child in that teacher's class. Could make for a tense parent/teacher conference...

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