As the publisher, I’m going to venture outside of my third person voice into my first person voice for this one. Because – well, this month is a big one for our community.
Let’s be honest, back to school season is a mixed bag. It’s great to feel the energy back in the community as families get back to school. But, it’s also stressful as the traffic picks up and people are more rushed and distracted.
For us as a community, we are welcoming a brand new K-8 school this year as Double Peak School finally opens its doors. And, while it’s exciting to have a brand new school, it’s also frightening as we worry about how it will affect traffic which is already a challenge.
So, let’s talk about that for a bit. We are all responsible for safety in our community – whether we are kids, parents or just general citizens. And, if we all work together, we can get back to school without any major problems. Are you game?
The first few weeks of school are always the worst as everyone tries to get into their routine. There will be more kids walking, riding bikes, etc. There will be more cars as parents drop off their kids. And, yes, not everyone will follow drop off and pick up procedures the way they are written.
If you have a student at one of our schools, there are several things you can do to help alleviate any traffic headaches and pressures.
Walk to school if possible. When our daughters were young, we purchased a rolling cart so we could load up their band instruments and backpacks on the cart and save everyone’s back. It was also a great way to walk the dog. Sure, the kids complained about it every morning, but I’m here to tell you – they survived! And, today we have many fond memories of our walks to and from school.
Talk to your kids. Let your kids know that drivers are not always paying attention and that it’s important that they not only follow crosswalks and signals, but also that they look and listen before crossing a street, etc. Let them know the dangers and how to best avoid getting caught off guard.
Follow recommended drop-off and pick-up procedures. The schools go to great lengths to design drop-off/pick-up procedures that are as efficient as possible. And, these will undoubtedly be tweaked along the way as we all adjust to the new routines. Don’t try to thwart the procedures by letting your kid get out of the car on the street or dropping them off somewhere that is not designated as such. (For example, Albertsons and Pacific Preschool…these are not drop-offs. In fact, Pacific Preschool is private property. Both of these businesses are just as concerned with ensuring safety for our students as you are.
Leave early. Always give yourself more time than you need. Yes, this is difficult, but SO much less stressful – which also means you will be more safe.
Okay, but what if you DON’T have a student in school right now? Think you’re off the hook? Nope! We are ALL part of the solution.
Try to avoid the busy times. Print out this schedule and stick it on the fridge or in your car. I don’t know about you, but I often forget which school gets out when and what day. Know what I mean? So, try to avoid driving through the community during drop-off and pick-up times. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the school schedule so you can avoid event nights like Back to School nights, etc. We will try to keep these dates in SHARE each month. Don’t skip over the ‘school page’ or the calendar of events page.
Don’t assume. Yes, the school provides crossing guards, but that doesn’t mean everyone will always be following the rules. Be prepared for the unexpected when you are driving around crowds of kids. Someone might jump out while rough-housing or just not paying attention.
Honor the speed limits and crosswalks. The speed limit through the town square and around the schools is 25mph. If you are going that speed, you will likely be able to get yourself out of any difficult situation. It’s pretty slow! Our San Elijo Safe Streets Committee worked with the City to get new crosswalks and to add some delay in the lights. Please pay attention to pedestrians in the crosswalks and honor the lights.
Take your time. Why be in such a rush? Allow extra time. Enjoy the slow drive along San Elijo Rd. Stop and wave at your neighbors. Smile at the kids. Let’s make San Elijo a warm, welcome place. Just this one thing alone can make a huge difference in the pace of traffic.
These are just some ideas. But, you get the gist. Let’s work together to ensure that September is a safe and stress-free time in San Elijo Hills as we all adjust to the new school schedules.
If you have ideas and want to positively contribute to safety in our community, check out the PACE – San Elijo Safe Streets Facebook page and get involved. It’s a great place to share ideas, connect with others who are concerned and even affect change! So, much better than getting frustrated or angry, don’t you think?
You can also take the PACE pledge at www.sanelijohills.org and join over 100 other residents in the community who have signed a pledge to safe driving in SEH. Together, we truly can set the pace for safety.
SCHOOL IS NOW IN SESSION
Help alleviate traffic in San Elijo Hills by avoiding driving during the busiest times at the schools. Below is a schedule of drop off & pick up times for each school. Or if you prefer to just follow a more general rule of thumb so you don’t have to remember: 7:30AM to 9AM and 2:30PM to 4:00PM most days and 1:00PM to 3:00PM on Wednesdays.
Start & Stop Times
San Elijo Middle School
7:55AM to 3:20PM – M, T, TH, F
7:55AM to 2:20PM – Wednesdays (Early Release)
San Elijo Elementary School
1st – 5th Grades
8:45AM to 3:10PM – M, T, TH, F
8:45AM to 2:10PM – Wednesdays (Early Release)
8:15AM to 11:50AM – M, T, TH, F
8:15Am to 10:50AM – Wednesdays (Early Release)
11:50AM to 3:25PM – M, T, TH, F
11:50AM to 2:25PM – Wednesdays (Early Release)
Double Peak School
1st – 7th Grade
8:15AM to 2:40PM – M, T, TH, F
8:15AM to 1:40PM – Wednesdays (Early Release)
8:00AM to 11:35AM – M, T, TH, F
8:00AM to 10:35AM – Wednesdays (Early Release)
11:05AM to 2:40PM11:50AM to 3:25PM – M, T, TH, F
11:05AM to 1:40PM – Wednesdays (Early Release)
Back to School Nights
Coming home from work on a Back to School night? Why not take a detour on your way home? A great night to run errands or eat out somewhere on your way home.
San Elijo Middle – September 15 & September 22, 6-7:30PM
San Elijo Elementary – September 1 & September 6, 5:30-7PM
Double Peak School – TBD