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Community Petitions City to Improve Safety of Crosswalk

Olivia Fu and Sam Newman, Co Editors-in-Chief

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A student was seriously injured before school on Nov. 28 in the crosswalk between Via Pamplona and SJHHS.
The freshman was hit by a car while crossing the street. Supervisors managing the morning traffic rushed over to help. He sustained major injuries and is reported to be recovering and out of critical condition.
A father was behind the wheel of the vehicle that struck the student after he dropped his children off at school. Police were called to the scene, but no charges were filed.
According to Assistant Principal Darrin Jindra, the sun may have played a part in the driver’s inability to see the student crossing. The other possibility is that the driver was inattentive at the time leading to the collision.
There is no official stop sign or traffic light at the crossing. People can press a button before crossing, if they choose, which will turn on yellow flashing lights on the side of the road as they walk through the street.
This incident was the second time a student has been injured in such an accident in the same crosswalk. The first was on Oct. 24, when a student sustained minor injuries to the arm and hip and was returned to class that morning.
School officials say they have been active in alerting the city of the dangers of the crosswalk and have asked the city several times to place a crossing guard on the site to regulate traffic. The human component is important to keep the flow of traffic moving, Jindra said. A stop sign or a light wouldn’t keep traffic moving.
Major news companies, like CBSLA, covered the accident that morning, spreading the word of the problem past the community of students, faculty, and staff at SJHHS.
The accident sparked conversation in the school and community about the safety hazard that is the crosswalk. Many students use the crosswalk, and it’s not just for the community across the street. Several parents drop off their kids across the street by the entrance gate on Via Pamplona to beat the before-school traffic, against the advice of school administration.
Pedestrians have the right of way by law, but the flashing lights are hard to see, especially in the morning when the sun over the hill creates glare. This combined with the high speed that most cars drive on Stallion Ridge while entering and exiting the school parking lot makes it dangerous for people to cross the street safely.
Offers from community members have come forward to serve as crossing guard in the mornings for students, according to Jindra.
Some parents have taken initiative and volunteered their time unofficially for the safety of students.
A petition is also circulating the community to address the issue.
The city of San Juan Capistrano is responsible for the intersection solution, and SJHHS has no jurisdiction.

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