OFFICIALS ADDRESS TRAFFIC PROBLEMS AT TWO AREA SCHOOLS.
Traffic at Lindero Canyon Middle School and Yerba Buena Elementary School, adjacent campuses in Agoura Hills, is a familiar site most weekdays.
Cars line both sides of the street as parents drop children off in the morning or wait to pick them up after class. Children walk across the road, sometimes from behind double-parked vehicles, where they are barely seen.
It's a scene the school community is trying to change.
``You get your mind so set on `Gotta' get to the Girl Scout meeting,' you forget there's all these children around,'' said Sgt. Kevin Mauch of the Sheriff's Department's Lost Hills station. ``Those are extremely dangerous behaviors.''
Since school began in the fall, two children have been hit in minor traffic collisions around the campuses.
Parents say enough is enough.
Last week, parents, school officials from Las Virgenes Unified School District and Sheriff's Department traffic officers met to discuss ways to make the area safe until the schools move forward with planned parking lot improvements.
Already the school and city are working to create a Loading Zone in the area in front of the schools, and signs will soon prohibit parking along the curbside.
Plus, the school district is considering parking improvements under its $93 million Measure R funds approved by voters in 1997, including wider drop-off lanes and an additional parking lot.
But in the meantime, it will be up to the police and parents to patrol the area, mostly busy Larboard Lane, and deter parents from breaking the rules.
Among the typical problems: parents double-parking, which makes it difficult to see small students darting between cars; vehicles stopped in the loading zone, tying up traffic at the curbs; cars speeding too quickly in the school zone.
Mauch said that since school began, his officers have given out ``hundreds'' of parking tickets to parents in the area. Violations for double-parking or parking in the loading zone are $43 each, Mauch said, often raising the ire of busy parents.
``There's a level of frustration,'' he said. ``That doesn't justify doing something that's unsafe.''
Officers have also experimented with using traffic cones to route traffic in a safer way during busy drop-off and pickup times.
After the holiday break, a group of volunteer parents is expected to help patrol the area to nudge parents to abide by the rules, and Mauch is hoping that peer pressure from parents will encourage the violators to slow down and obey the traffic laws.
Parent Kevin Thomas, who has children in both the middle and elementary school, has been watching the traffic problems along Larboard Lane since last school year.
``How long's it take?'' asked Thomas, who said he was planning to volunteer for the parent patrols. ``There's always an excuse why these things can't happen, then kids get hit.''