After three children were struck by cars while crossing Castro Street near Graham Middle School, community safety officials and city leaders are set to meet next week with parents and school representatives to discuss safety measures.
The meeting, hosted by the non-profit youth traffic safety organization Safe Moves, is scheduled for Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Graham multiuse room. Kim Thompson, the school's principal, is slated to speak, as is Pat Hines, executive director of Safe Moves.
The forum, titled Biking, Walking, Driving: Transporation Safety at Graham, comes after a 15-day span in which three children were hit by cars just off school grounds, according to Thompson.
The first child -- an eighth-grade boy on a bike, was hit on the morning of Oct. 5. The second child, an eighth-grade boy on a skateboard, was hit on the morning of Oct. 10. The third child, a seventh-grade boy, was also hit in the morning. All of the children were on their way to school. None of them suffered life-threatening injuries, but the first boy that was hit broke his wrist, the second bruised his hip.
In each case, it may not have been entirely the driver's fault. The father of the skateboarder, who asked to remain anonymous, said that children are not always cognizant of their surroundings and that the crosswalk in which his son was hit is one of two crosswalks where it is difficult to see the sidewalks, due to cars that are often parked along the shoulder of the road and because of trees and shrubs. The two crosswalks cut across Castro Street at the intersections of Harpster Drive and Sonia Way.
"I don't necessarily blame her," the father said. "A lot of times these kids are just asleep," he said. "They walk into the crosswalk and they just expect everyone to stop for them."
Thompson said she is working with the cty of Mountain View and Safe Moves to help increase the safety of Graham students.
The principal said she thinks the crosswalks -- which do not have stop signs -- would be much safer if the city installed some sort of blinking light system, either in the ground or overhead. Lights could be activated by a button of those wishing to cross.
The father of the skateboarder said he didn't think it would make sense to put in a stop sign, because the street is a busy thoroughfare and two stop signs in quick succession would create a traffic issue around the time school begins and ends.
In part, the meeting is being held to raise awareness about the dangerous intersections, so that the city might add some sort of safety element to the two crosswalks. But it is also being held to just encourage parents to talk to their kids about the rules of the road and also to get people to be more aware of these two particular crossings.
"I want the public to realize that we all need to slow down," Thompson said. "We've got to get people to slow down. That's for sure."