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Third Graham student in three weeks hit by car

Original post made on Oct 16, 2012

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.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 10:17 AM

Comments (40)

Posted by Sparty, a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 16, 2012 at 10:42 am

Hmmm wonder why ALL the facebook posts by MVPD keep mentioning that PEDESTRIANS and cars need to pay attention...I wonder.......

Posted by Janet L, a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 16, 2012 at 11:14 am

Of course kids aren't always careful. They're KIDS. It's up to us adults to drive really really slowly and look out for them during school opening and closing times.

If people don't want to drive slow or stop for kids, they should find an alternate route. If parked cars are blocking the view, then red curb it. Children's safety is more important than adult convenience.

Posted by Stop Speeding, a resident of Castro City
on Oct 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

If drivers are alert and not speeding, it should be VERY easy to not hit kids in an active 25 mph school zone.
I don't want to hear any excuses. These are our children; children at an age where logical decisions are not always made so we as drivers must be EXTRA vigilant.
The disgusting attitude of the "Out of my way" drivers is repulsive.

Posted by Same story over again, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

Remember when bikes were the big problem in some people's eyes? Now its become more clear: Bikes compared to cars equates to irritation vs a life threat.

Intelligent people know where the police should focus their attention. This is very clear. Now if we can just get the police to focus their attention on traffic infractions we might see improvement.

Lets have a huge police blowout announcement about how MV is cracking down on traffic law violators. Stake out the "hot" intersections with multiple cops and let them ticket people untikl they have writer's cramps. Put multiple radar cops on those streets that have a 25 mph limit and ticket anyone going over 30.

Posted by True Tourtillott, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 16, 2012 at 11:56 am

I drive through that area every morning on my way to work and I am SHOCKED on a daily basis at the abject carelessness of the parents who are driving their own kids to school. Once relieved of their "precious cargo" they to the last, go into typical self-absorbed CA driver mode.

I've seen countless parents blow through crosswalks with no regard to kids in them. I've been verbally berated by parents for stopping to allow kids to cross. On a daily basis I see parents making right turns on the red at Castro & El Camino while kids and other pedestrians are in the crosswalk. I've seen more illegal u-turns and failure to yields that have resulted in collisions or near collisions than I care to count. The city of Mountain View could eliminate any budget problems through moving violation fines by stationing an officer there in the mornings.

Graham Middle School parents are THE WORST OFFENDERS along this portion of Castro. You people need to take a long, hard look in the mirror. It's you who are the lions share of the problem.

Posted by 100% bicycle commuter, a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I'm glad the kids are ok.

I may be completely wrong in the following analysis, but I'd like to make some observations. Please correct me if I'm missing something.

I looked at a Google Maps image of the area. All three students were hit in the morning, which means they were almost certainly hit as they were crossing west to east. Both crosswalks are on the south sides of the two intersections.

Suppose the car that hits the kid is coming from the north. That the crosswalk is on the south side of the intersection implies there is a gap of at least three car lengths between a parked car or bush and the point at which the kid enters the crosswalk. Visibility should not be a problem.

Suppose then the kid was hit after crossing the halfway mark by a north-going car. Was the vegetation in the median to blame? If so, the median should be cleared of vegetation near the crosswalk. But I bet it wasn't.

I strongly support buffers of two car lengths surrounding every crosswalk in which parking is not allowed and vegetation is kept aggressively trimmed. But I'm not convinced visibility was the issue here. I think it might be drivers' carelessness.

Posted by Couldn't resist, a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Sounds like the Crittenden kids have learned to drive early?

Posted by Susan, a resident of Castro City
on Oct 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Have any of you been in a school zone in the past few years? It should be called the zombie zone for all the attention the "children" pay to crosswalks, cars or signals. Maybe they could be encouraged to realize that a 4000 pound vehicle should be paid attention to. And drivers...SLOW DOWN in a school zone. The kids are clueless!

Posted by Laurel, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm

HUGE enforcement and supervision presence this morning on the way to Graham--crossing guards at the crosswalks and police stationed on both sides of Castro. One had a radar gun, but with crossing guards stopping traffic for the kids the traffic was moving VERY slowly indeed. No speeding today! Kids were getting ticketed for no helmets today too, including in the afternoon, if they were on bikes or skateboards. But the police cannot be out every day; we need a long-term solution to this long-term problem.

Posted by WorriedMom, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm

To address 100% bicycle commuter's question:

In the third accident, the child was hit after crossing the median, by a car in the far right lane. That driver had stopped to allow kids to cross, but failed to see the child lagging behind because the car to their left was also stopped at the crosswalk. A crossing guard or flashing lights, if we'd had them, might have kept the car from moving forward blindly into the crosswalk.

Are middle schoolers sometimes careless or unaware of their own safety? Yep. Are drivers less aware than they need to be on these streets? Often. Would additional lights and/or crossing guards in this intersection help? I think likely, yes.

This is a community problem and one that will need a multifaceted solution: teaching the kids to be more aware and more responsible, increasing driver awareness and safety habits, and improving the infrastructure of the crossings.

The community is invited to attend next Wednesday's forum and to bring their constructive ideas and energy to move solutions forward. Wednesday, Oct. 24, 7pm, Graham Multiuse room.

Although we may differ in our opinions of how best to solve the problem, I think everyone in this community wants the situation to change *before* we wind up with a child in a body bag.

Posted by @ Worried Mom, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 16, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Thank you Worried Mom! You have it right. I drop off my child and am very careful and drive slow, because these are middle schoolers. They assume that the world revolves around them. (I have one!)

The parents can be really crazy drivers there. But many are not. The kids can do really ridiculous things. But many do not.
I have seen both.

One afternoon, I was stopped at the crosswalk while a huge crowd of students walked across the street. As they got across, the cars in front started to move, when all of a sudden, a student jets out into the crosswalk without any notice. He was walking down the road, and suddenly runs across. It is by great reaction from that parent that he did not get hit. THAT is how this 3rd accident happened- and he was on his cellphone.

Parents definitely need to slow down; students definitely need to pay better attention. And, we all can use more technology to help in any way we can.

I am so happy that none of these students were hurt. And, I am so sorry that it took 3 accidents to bring this to the attention of everyone.

Posted by Simon, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Lots of blame to go around but people are people and as the last few weeks demonstrate they will continue to make bad choices, so unless we change something we will keep getting accidents. The blame game helps us process our anger but by laying fault with one party it is easy to overlook or defer more robust solutions.

Traffic accidents are AVOIDABLE even with distracted and careless road users. There are many proven measures that can be taken - we have to demonstrate that as a community we are willing to pay the price for the walkable community we often say we desire.

Come 5 minutes earlier or later and the traffic around schools is gone - so yes it absolutely is the parents who make up the traffic. Nobody planned it this way but we have reached a place where we have too many cars concentrated into too short a time. Adding more car infrastructure is not working and with the number of pupils at our schools set to grow we have to get creative.

Los Altos and Palo Alto are leading the way be reversing the decade long trend in kids powering themselves to school. If we follow their lead we can get hundreds of cars off the road every morning and lift everyones quality of life.

It's up to us in the community to make this work but before asking anyone to send their kids on foot, bike or board we need to make safe routes to school a priority and get the infrastructure in place to protect our youngest and most vulnerable road users.

Posted by Witness, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I wonder if the drivers who hit the kids had kids at that school themselves. Diving that area daily during school commute house, it would not surprise me one bit. The parents are horrendous vehicle code violators, at least in the morning. Really dangerous turning onto Castro from Miramonte coming from ECR. Its not uncommon to see near t-bone collisions or head-ons. Coming from the other direction they're reaching speeds in excess of 45 mph all the time, trying to get in front of the other guy before hitting the right turn lane.
Hello? Radar patrolman? Knock Knock Knock...Hello?

Posted by Witness, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Almost forgot...what about hitting an area hard with MANY cops who together, are able to really ticket large amounts of violators. Hit the area hard for a day or three, then move to another hot spot. We really should be talking about Shock and Awe type moving violation citations at this point. People are getting killed and our kids are getting picked off once a week.

Posted by sam, a resident of Castro City
on Oct 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Why aren't there any crossing guards there? Other cities have crossing guards for their middle school students.

Posted by MEMBER, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 16, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I requested the City of Mountain View to look into putting in "in-pavement flashing-light system" in their hard to see crosswalks on Castro st (needs 5), Miramonte (needs 3), and Shoreline ( needs 3) like 6 years ago. Their response: " Well look into this if the funds ever become available". So obviously safety and prevention takes a back seat in their budget. On the flipside the attention span of these kids and their parents in all the craziness of the AM/PM is a joke. Put the phones away, stop texting and gaming and look up and around for safeties sake!

Posted by Patty Pale, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

Because we cannot rely 100% on people slowing down, specially because there are always new residents temporary moving to this city (from all over the world)...some are driving thru there for the first time, some are just distracted by the attractive street, and some are looking for an address, etc.

Because we cannot rely 100% on the kids or adults to pay more attention when crossing...

The city must take the following actions:
1) Make Castro street a ONE-WAY street.
2) Installing flashing lights and stop signs at every crosswalk would benefit a lot. I love going for walks on the street and I noticed not all cars slow down or stop even when you are trying to cross. I also drive thru there and I see that some of these cross sections are not very visible. Also, there are plants/trees placed on the crosswalks which are high enough to cover a person who is tempting to cross.
3) Place signs to warn drivers to slowdown entering Castro St. (how many drivers know what the speed limit is on Castro st.?) hmmm

It is everyone's responsibility!
Everyone should pay more attention (pedestrians, drivers,cyclists,the city...)

Posted by Driver's Comeuppance, a resident of Castro City
on Oct 17, 2012 at 11:08 am

Lots of cops in the area today writing tickets to law breaking drivers. Sweet! Don't stop.

Posted by True Tourtillott, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Plenty of MVPD along Castro this morning. Sadly, not enough of them. They were busy writing tickets to two Graham parents and missed the white Acura MDX that failed to yield to oncoming traffic while making a left into the parking lot blocking both lanes of oncoming traffic and the Graham parent in a blue Accord who parked in the red zone to drop off her child or the Graham parent in the green minivan that made a right against the red at El Camino & Castro while four kids were in the crosswalk forcing them to stop in the middle of El Camino.

It's appalling that these Graham parents drive their children to school in the interest of their kids safety and then so brazenly expose other children to serious injury (or worse) through abject carelessness and self-importance.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 17, 2012 at 3:11 pm

"In each case, it may not have been entirely the driver's fault"
Nowhere in the article does it state or suggest it was ever even partly the driver's fault. If this was the high school paper, the faculty advisor would've insisted that be corrected.

Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Seems that traffic and related are issues all over the city.
And yet we do have full time traffic engineers, but we think the inatentiveness to these problems speaks volumes about the job being done.

Posted by Otto Maddox, a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm

How about parents just letting their kids walk themselves to school?

Someone posted this like it was some new idea.

Really? I went to Monta Loma and Crittenden (1976 to 1983) and walked every single day.. RAIN OR SHINE.

Something happened to parents in the 20+ years I've been out of school. It's considered insanity to have your kid walk to school without an escort.

Posted by gladwemoved, a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Lived in Mountain View 30 years. So glad we moved out to Brentwood. Affordable housing, amazing people, less traffic, great schools (better than Mountain View). I went to Graham and so did my kids. Raising a son now who can hear a rooster wake him up, pick fresh fruit in the fields on Sundays, and have an amazing school. We bought a 3,000 sq ft house for $400K up here. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy we moved. People are insane in Mountain View. Drive like they're all going to a fire, people looking down all the time at their stupid iPhones, and too many people period. Wouldn't trade Brentwood for anything. So sad for these kids that have to be exposed to crazy drivers. When I was a kid in Mt. View was better. There is nothing in Silicon Valley to make us pay the prices for housing.

Posted by gladwemoved, a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm

By the way, our house in Brentwood is in a gated community, on a culdesac and for $400,000 we got a BIG house with a huge yard. Sorry, they're all sold out.

Posted by Ole, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Quit gloating. Picking fruit in the fields is about the only job you will find in Brentwood unless you get into a nice line of traffic headed back to the Bay Area.

Posted by Mr. Big, a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 19, 2012 at 2:19 am

The in-street blinking lights will only work if they have a timer to be activated during pear times. Most kids won't even press a button.

I'm afraid the best solution is a speed hump (not bump) crosswalk like the one on Tyrella St. at the Hetch Hetchy trail.

Posted by Glad I moved too, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm

@gladwemoved, I lived in Brentwood for about 8 years. There is a HUGE reason its so cheap to live there. Try to feel comfortable enough in your decision to not have to come here and try and talk everyone into how great it is, because from my experience, its not so great at all.
People have different needs though, and B-wood obviously fits the needs of some.

Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm

City traffic engineer & school district interaction. My discussion with one of the traffic engineers (in the last 6 months) turned up the information that MVWSD has not contacted the city on what problems enlarged school enrollment (or expanded schools) will cause with traffic. The city would love to do this - the District needs to initiate.
SN is a Candidate for MVWSD Board

Posted by Jeffrey H, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 20, 2012 at 7:51 am

Too bad gen-Xers can't cross the street safely. Back in my day we leaned "Stop, Look and Listen before you cross the street. Use your Eyes, use your Ears and then use your Feet,... and for heaven's sake, put away that smart phone for a moment!"

We also had crossing guards.

Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Ultimately it IS on the driver. There are NO vehicular "accidents." There is only inattention.

Raise the penalties for negligent driving to the point where drivers are ACTIVELY frightened of the consequences of negligent driving. MAKE 'EM PAY! We need the money. If the MVPD cares about keeping their outrageous pensions, they should TOTALLY support a fine structure commensurate with the city's DESPERATE need for revenue.

Posted by Lynn, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 20, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I was at that crosswalk today and the cars did not stop. Maybe a crosswalk button that activates flashing lights are needed? I don't think the cars see pedestrians.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Castro City
on Oct 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm

If one is the crosswalk the and is struck by a driver it is 100% the driver's fault. Drivers need to pay attention and start following the rules of the road again.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Castro City
on Oct 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Crossing guards anyone? Other school districts use crossing guards.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Oct 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm

You can't expect the police to show up at,every school, crossing guards are great, but they to may get hit. City and school officals check out the crosswalk crossing on East Washinton Street in Petaluma near the airport off 101.

Posted by Yepper, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Drivers are oblivious and do not look for pedestrians. Too wrapped up in their self proclaimed "I own the road, get outta my way" attitude.
They need help to reprogram their behaviors and I think flashing lights can assist...that and a a few moving violation tickets.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Quick correction to some misinformation floating around here:
Crosswalk or not, if you step out in front of a moving car your death will not automatically be the driver's fault.

Posted by Yeun, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Oct 23, 2012 at 7:16 am

It's mostly children from low-income families that cross Castro and El Camino. Most don't even bother looking out for cars. Nothing will change until their education is improved. It starts in the classroom. Good luck with that.

Posted by @steve, a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm

"Crosswalk or not, if you step out in front of a moving car your death will not automatically be the driver's fault."

That's called suicide. Suicide by crosswalk.

Posted by KT, a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I live near Crittendon and I have to say that the parents of these kids pull out of the school parking lot almost squealing wheels most mornings to get out onto the Middlefield. They also go about 50 mph when pulling up to the school and pulling away. PARENTS NEED TO SLOW DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who cares if your kid is a few minutes late and who really cares if you are a few minutes late for work? Is it really worth killing someone? I am constantly signalling for people to slow down, it is so unnecessary. I don't go over 20mph when kids are around. Not even that.

Posted by KT, a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm

And income level and crossing a street carefully are correlated? How dare you say that!! And what evidence do you have to support your statement? I would say that they are not. I would think that kids who come from low income housing would pay more attention because they are used to walking places. The kids who come from more affluant homes get carted around in mom/dads overpriced luxary car.

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