CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. — Citrus Heights’ school year started three weeks ago, but parents and community members are still concerned about safely dropping off and picking up their kids from school.
Residents on Facebook comment about how they almost “get hit every day walking my kid to school,” or how “people will drive on the wrong side of the road just to get around everyone else who is waiting” in school traffic.
While residents get used to the school routine, officers from the Citrus Heights Police Department are showing up at schools during the busiest hours of the day.
Lt. Mike Wells says when the school year starts the department puts together a traffic plan to educate the public, enforce laws and engineer roads when needed.
“We can't be at every school,” said Wells, going on to explain how the department listens to all complaints it receives and is flexible with their planning to ensure student safety.
Traffic violations and enforcement vary from school to school depending on where the campus is located.
Wells says the most common traffic violations are: speeding, not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign and parking illegally, which causes traffic.
Each school has its own rules and safety guidelines that can be found on their website for pick-up and drop-off to promote safety for students as they go to and from school, according to Raj Rai, director of communication for the district.
Drivers are not the only ones responsible for traffic issues during busy morning and afternoon hours, said Rai. She says pedestrians not using crosswalks for crossing streets, students continuing conversations after parking and not being ready to exit the vehicle once stopped also add to congestion around schools.
Some tips to ensure student safety while picking up and dropping off are: leave your home early, follow traffic laws, move forward as far as possible along the curb before dropping off or picking up, and connect with their child’s school if they have questions regarding where to pick up and drop off their child.
“Be responsible for your community, the kids and your neighbors,” said Wells. “These are your kids and we should work together and respect each other... at the end of the day it's about the kids being safe.”
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