News

Community petitions city for extra crossing guard at Vintage Hills Elementary

Intersection next to Vintage Hills poses safety risk, parents say

A group of parents and their children are petitioning Pleasanton city leaders for an additional crossing guard at Vintage Hills Elementary School, citing an intersection they say poses a threat to their children's safety.

Three Vintage Hills students were among those who argued their case for the extra crossing guard during public comment at the Feb. 19 City Council meeting. They also presented a petition signed by more than 100 people and requested adding more traffic safety features at the corner of Concord Street and Grillo Court, a narrow cul-de-sac and primary drop-off and pick-up point for families avoiding waiting in front of the school.

Parents like Kate Duggan, mother of two children enrolled at Vintage Hills, told the Weekly that drivers frequently speed in and out from Grillo. "I've been crossing it for years so I'm used to it, but I don't feel comfortable," Duggan said. "I don't trust the parents is what it comes down to."

"It's only 10 or 15 minutes a day," Duggan said, but witnessing countless close calls over the years has made her nervous every day during that brief period.

Drivers waiting on Grillo for a break in traffic suddenly dart onto Concord without stopping for students stepping into the crosswalk, she said, while others trying to make unprotected turns onto Grillo from Concord and avoid the designated drop-off and pick-up zone at the front of the school encounter similar circumstances.

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A letter with the group's petition described three 8-year-old boys almost being hit in January while in the crosswalk and "the driver rolled down the window and told the kids to be more careful."

Another parent recently witnessed a driver "accelerate into a crowd in the crosswalk and then actually flip off the kids and parents crossing the street."

One parent also recently hit a car with their hand that was backing up into the crosswalk "filled with kids" as the driver was executing a three-point turn at the neck of Grillo.

Christy Duncan-Anderson, another concerned member of the group, said many parents turn around at that area to save time circling back around in the court and added that driver behavior is at its worst in the morning, when many people are hurrying to work.

Vintage Hills principal Ann Jayne added her support to the initiative, stating in a letter that "it is a dangerous area and has become increasingly so." A crossing guard posted just down the street said there are "a lot more cars, drop-offs than there used to be," adding to the congestion.

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Visibility is also more of a safety issue when motorists illegally park in the red zone close to the corner on Grillo, so the city's Transportation Division is adding another red curb in several weeks. Traffic engineer Mike Tassano said it should "de-congest the throat of the court so that there's fewer elements to negotiate as they try to gain access to Concord."

The city has moved crossing guards to different locations before, but Tassano said pleasing everyone wasn't possible. "Moving guards ... isn't something we can do, so we try to limit the number of crossing guards we have to elementary schools and try not to go more than two guards per school," he added.

The city's Traffic Safety Committee will review the traffic volume and make a recommendation ask for another crossing guard this spring. If approved, the new guard would be installed by fall and funded by the Pleasanton Police Department.

For the moment, school officials and neighbors have added traffic cones by the red zones to discourage illegal parking and improve visibility at the crosswalk.

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Community petitions city for extra crossing guard at Vintage Hills Elementary

Intersection next to Vintage Hills poses safety risk, parents say

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Mar 6, 2019, 3:42 pm

A group of parents and their children are petitioning Pleasanton city leaders for an additional crossing guard at Vintage Hills Elementary School, citing an intersection they say poses a threat to their children's safety.

Three Vintage Hills students were among those who argued their case for the extra crossing guard during public comment at the Feb. 19 City Council meeting. They also presented a petition signed by more than 100 people and requested adding more traffic safety features at the corner of Concord Street and Grillo Court, a narrow cul-de-sac and primary drop-off and pick-up point for families avoiding waiting in front of the school.

Parents like Kate Duggan, mother of two children enrolled at Vintage Hills, told the Weekly that drivers frequently speed in and out from Grillo. "I've been crossing it for years so I'm used to it, but I don't feel comfortable," Duggan said. "I don't trust the parents is what it comes down to."

"It's only 10 or 15 minutes a day," Duggan said, but witnessing countless close calls over the years has made her nervous every day during that brief period.

Drivers waiting on Grillo for a break in traffic suddenly dart onto Concord without stopping for students stepping into the crosswalk, she said, while others trying to make unprotected turns onto Grillo from Concord and avoid the designated drop-off and pick-up zone at the front of the school encounter similar circumstances.

A letter with the group's petition described three 8-year-old boys almost being hit in January while in the crosswalk and "the driver rolled down the window and told the kids to be more careful."

Another parent recently witnessed a driver "accelerate into a crowd in the crosswalk and then actually flip off the kids and parents crossing the street."

One parent also recently hit a car with their hand that was backing up into the crosswalk "filled with kids" as the driver was executing a three-point turn at the neck of Grillo.

Christy Duncan-Anderson, another concerned member of the group, said many parents turn around at that area to save time circling back around in the court and added that driver behavior is at its worst in the morning, when many people are hurrying to work.

Vintage Hills principal Ann Jayne added her support to the initiative, stating in a letter that "it is a dangerous area and has become increasingly so." A crossing guard posted just down the street said there are "a lot more cars, drop-offs than there used to be," adding to the congestion.

Visibility is also more of a safety issue when motorists illegally park in the red zone close to the corner on Grillo, so the city's Transportation Division is adding another red curb in several weeks. Traffic engineer Mike Tassano said it should "de-congest the throat of the court so that there's fewer elements to negotiate as they try to gain access to Concord."

The city has moved crossing guards to different locations before, but Tassano said pleasing everyone wasn't possible. "Moving guards ... isn't something we can do, so we try to limit the number of crossing guards we have to elementary schools and try not to go more than two guards per school," he added.

The city's Traffic Safety Committee will review the traffic volume and make a recommendation ask for another crossing guard this spring. If approved, the new guard would be installed by fall and funded by the Pleasanton Police Department.

For the moment, school officials and neighbors have added traffic cones by the red zones to discourage illegal parking and improve visibility at the crosswalk.

Comments

Andy Griffin
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Mar 6, 2019 at 4:17 pm
Andy Griffin, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Mar 6, 2019 at 4:17 pm
7 people like this

This story's got me scratchin' my head.

Call me old fashioned but why don't the parents let them there kids walk to school?


Grumpy
Registered user
Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 6, 2019 at 5:57 pm
Grumpy, Vineyard Avenue
Registered user
on Mar 6, 2019 at 5:57 pm
3 people like this

Stop signs on Concord would also be good, as would be DO NOT BLOCK markings in the Concord/Grillo intersection.

I'd love it if pedestrian crossing on Concord away from the crosswalks were also made illegal, but I don't believe that that is possible under state law.


Michael Austin
Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 6, 2019 at 6:26 pm
Michael Austin, Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 6, 2019 at 6:26 pm
Like this comment

There was a similar traffic mess with parents dropping off children in the Muirwood Drive and West Las Positas intersection prior to the traffic lights installation eight or nine years ago.

The school was Lydiksen, a quarter mile away from the intersection.

I was at the intersection getting traffic count which included cars, buses, dump trucks, everything that was on wheels including bicycles.

There was never crossing guards in this intersection to assist children.

Parents would drive into the intersection up to the far curb, drop off their children, make a U-turn and drive off, with the cross walks crowded with children.

The installation of traffic lights cleaned up this mess. There does remain drivers entering the cross walks with children in the cross walks.


Concerned
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2019 at 10:24 pm
Concerned, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2019 at 10:24 pm
8 people like this

If Neal Elementary had been built like the PUSD had promised twenty years ago, there would not be so much traffic congestion at Vintage Hills Elementary in the first place.

Unfortunately, since the school district organization seems to be like a combination of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Melrose Place," I don't expect any changes any time soon.

Students from PUSD are appearing at the City Council meeting including last night because of the constant state of chaos with the ever-changing principals at PUSD and the lack of transparency and the continuing student suicides. It is so sad that the PUSD is so dysfunctional. See the following clip from last night -Web Link

Also, the Pleasanton Weekly did not actually address why in the world middle school classes are on high school transcripts in the first place. What is PUSD doing putting middle school courses on high school transcripts?


Joyce
Birdland
on Mar 7, 2019 at 7:24 am
Joyce , Birdland
on Mar 7, 2019 at 7:24 am
10 people like this

Traffic around all schools is a mess. Parents don’t let their precious kids walk to school because there is so much traffic (!).
I watched a child nearly get hit at the harvest/northeast intersection at Walnut Grove this week. The child was way too young to be crossing alone, but he had made eye contact with one driver and decided to cross, not checking for the car turning right into his path.
Schools don’t care, I have tried to speak to two principals about this and had no response.
Show up at city meetings and things will change. Look at the Stanley/Bernal improvements that were made after they biking community turned up in large numbers.


K
another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 10:31 am
K, another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 10:31 am
14 people like this

You can say "the schools don't care", but the reality is the citizens of Pleasanton don't care.

This issue is not just about kids walking - it's about all of us who choose to walk rather than drive.

I have lost count of the number of time I have almost been hit in a crosswalk because the person in the car was in such a hurry they could not stop for 15 seconds to allow me to move out of their way. The last time was at the stop sign at Harvest and Del Valle Parkway. That driver was going 45+ MPH and ran right thru the stop sign. Right in front of a High and a Church!

This "I'm in a hurry, get out of my way attitude" is made worse by the people who continue to talk and text on their cells phones, etc.

Pleasanton likes to call itself the City of Character - kind of a joke. The primary characteristic I see is "Selfishness".


SMH
Birdland
on Mar 7, 2019 at 12:18 pm
SMH, Birdland
on Mar 7, 2019 at 12:18 pm
9 people like this

I guess the obvious question that comes to my mind, is why don’t the parents who are “extremely concerned” and who witness these events simply act as a de-facto crossing guard while the kids are crossing? Maybe too busy sitting still and unwilling to put down their Starbucks to lift a finger. Would rather watch while something happens, instead of taking a few minutes to help. Typical drama and all talk, but little to no effort to contribute towards a solution. My gosh people!


Joyce
Birdland
on Mar 7, 2019 at 1:53 pm
Joyce, Birdland
on Mar 7, 2019 at 1:53 pm
7 people like this

SMH, I think it's too much to ask a parent to act as a crossing guard. I walk my own child over a crossing that has no guard because they hate crossing it alone. If other kids try to cross at the same time and I see something dangerous I will tell them, but I'm not going to stay there for the duration of the school-run.

Turning up at the city and asking for a guard or a light is actually contributing towards a solution, which is I believe what these parents and students did at the Feb 19th meeting. The parents who walk are the ones who are asking for help, not people sitting in their cars watching and drinking Starbucks as you describe.


Restoring Staggered Starts Would Help
Registered user
Ruby Hill
on Mar 7, 2019 at 6:37 pm
Restoring Staggered Starts Would Help, Ruby Hill
Registered user
on Mar 7, 2019 at 6:37 pm
5 people like this

A big part of the problem is that the drop-off circle at Vintage is tiny and vehicles cannot move through it efficiently because many want to make left turns when exiting. So parents are forced to drop off curbside anywhere else they can. But another part of the problem is that everyone needs to be doing this simultaneously and the area just isn't configured to support that kind of traffic. If different classes or grades started at (more) different times, there would be less traffic at the school at each start/end time, and traffic congestion would not be such an issue.

Another possible issue is that some of the immigrant parents may not come from the "pedestrians always have right-of-way" system here in the US. A little bit of education - that children always have right of way and drivers who hit them will get jail time - could go a long way to helping some drivers become less hasty.

An additional suggestion would be to shift the crosswalk guard from Concord & Touriga to Concord & Grillo, and move the crosswalk across Concord to the Grillo intersection. This would expose the crosswalk over Touriga, but that is less heavily trafficked than the Grillo area.


Map
Del Prado
on Mar 7, 2019 at 7:40 pm
Map, Del Prado
on Mar 7, 2019 at 7:40 pm
8 people like this

Forget more crossing guards or traffic lights, stop signs or even speed bumps nothing short of calling in the National Guard will slow these privileged drivers down! Should not allow any drop offs within a 2 block radius of Vintage Hills, gets rid of that driver cluster and the kids get a little exercise.


julee
Registered user
Del Prado
on Mar 7, 2019 at 10:57 pm
julee, Del Prado
Registered user
on Mar 7, 2019 at 10:57 pm
5 people like this

Map, my husband is the crossing guard at Concord and Touriga. He almost daily has a story of disaster, getting hit himself or a mother or child or both almost getting hit by a driver. Some of the drivers go right through the stop sign and then give him the finger and keep going when they missed my husband by one inch of hitting him when he has to jump out of the way. He likes your idea. By adding extra red zones or stop signs will do nothing. Some do not pay any attention to that now. We like the idea of cameras being installed so that the police department can see what is going on. These people need to be caught and get tickets and pay the consequences for their actions before someone really gets hurt or worse! He has gone to the police department several times when almost getting hit or someone almost getting hit by a car with not much support! So far we like your idea! The parents can walk with their kids to school from where they park a few blocks away.


Grumpy
Registered user
Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 8, 2019 at 8:18 am
Grumpy, Vineyard Avenue
Registered user
on Mar 8, 2019 at 8:18 am
3 people like this

Julee, I'm sorry about the abuse your husband has to go through. He's always there and steady and we're grateful he's there.

Stop signs won't stop the worst drivers, but they'll help the overall flow. And they'll also give the police, who are out there in force this week with nothing to show for it, something real to enforce. Right now, the mess is more or less legal. Parents are allowed to drop children off at any curb. They are allowed to cross Concord anywhere. Cars can block the street, and I doubt tickets for blocking the street would do anything to dissuade drivers or even stand up in court. Cameras won't help: no signals, no salary for the person to review them, and state law won't allow them in general.

The best idea would be to have a traffic cop directing traffic in the mornings at Grillo, but I don't see that happening given the cost.


Map
Del Prado
on Mar 8, 2019 at 8:27 am
Map, Del Prado
on Mar 8, 2019 at 8:27 am
10 people like this

@julee. Really appreciate what all our crossing guards have to deal with on a daily basis, it’s a dangerous thankless job and probably a big irritation to those privileged drivers who have no respect for the rules of the road. Would love to see cameras installed but good luck with that, we can’t even get red light cameras installed at our major intersections (death traps) in town!!
Block off school access for 2 blocks and let those drivers walk off some of that anger and road rage.


SMH
Birdland
on Mar 8, 2019 at 10:02 am
SMH, Birdland
on Mar 8, 2019 at 10:02 am
4 people like this

One would think that PPD would perhaps have one officer who is already at the station or one of the volunteer community officers simply help out. It’s not a huge investment in time - maybe 30 minutes twice a day? We don’t have that much crime going on that they could do something in between now and the time an additional crossing guard is hired.


Member
Vintage Hills
on Mar 8, 2019 at 12:07 pm
Member, Vintage Hills
on Mar 8, 2019 at 12:07 pm
5 people like this

Turn the street and court into a no stopping zone and make people park and walk from other access points. [Removed because it contained myriad unverified information] Wake up Pleasanton! Wake up! The sky is falling. Oh wait, that’s not the sky it’s the ceilings of the first grade classrooms because of leaks that aren’t being repaired. Shame on you PUSD! Shame on you!!


SMH
Birdland
on Mar 8, 2019 at 1:14 pm
SMH, Birdland
on Mar 8, 2019 at 1:14 pm
1 person likes this

"Member" your political bias is showing. No need to turn this into an anti Trump rant. Politics has nothing to do with this issue. If there are such egregious issues as you so eloquently have stated, then your duty is to take it to the PUSD or the State Board of Education. My guess is that it is somewhat true but not completely accurate; but only a guess. By the way, there is a process for requesting more crossing guards, it is published on the city website. Lets stick to the issue.


Steve Venema
Vintage Hills
on Mar 8, 2019 at 1:27 pm
Steve Venema, Vintage Hills
on Mar 8, 2019 at 1:27 pm
7 people like this

In the past couple days someone has erected cameras tied to the street signs in the 3 crossing locations. City? School District? Concerned Parents? Drivers at VH have become increasingly ignorant of others over the past 2 years. I regularly call PPD and write the principal to educate the parents of their students as VH is no longer a good neighbor. Parents have taught their children to run across the street and jump into the car where no crosswalk exists. I try to avoid the area at school times but sometimes I must. At those times I drive with my high beams on to be more visible to the runners and ignorant drivers.


Grumpy
Registered user
Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 8, 2019 at 2:30 pm
Grumpy, Vineyard Avenue
Registered user
on Mar 8, 2019 at 2:30 pm
2 people like this

Seriously, though, those meters are usually a part of a traffic study. The city is clearly paying attention, as this very article points to. Hopefully they are able to make a change.


Concerned
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2019 at 3:07 pm
Concerned, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2019 at 3:07 pm
2 people like this

Vintage Hills Elementary and the dysfunctional PUSD has a lot of problems, but the old tactics that PUSD has used for two decades --- DARVO Deny, Accuse, Reverse Victim Offender --- where they deny problems exist and then reverse attack the parents that complain and say it is the so-called 'community's fault' or reverse attack the parents and say that in order for them to implement change, they have to run for a school board position, is just so wrong.

What the parents need to do is contact all of the local TV stations, the SF Chronicle, and the Contra Costa Times with all of the issues, and have them show up at the school and the District Office demanding answers to the deteriorating facilities, the mismanagement, etc.


Agree with Steve
Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2019 at 9:40 pm
Agree with Steve , Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2019 at 9:40 pm
10 people like this

I agree with Steve because I also live in the Vintage Hills area near the school. Too many parents speed up and down Touriga without concern for others' little ones because they are only concerned about getting their child to school on time. My friend's dog was hit and killed on Touriga when a parent was speeding down the road to get back home after drop off. The streets surrounding Vintage Hills have always been an issue. I have seen Jules' husband mistreated and disregarded on many occasions. Parents do coax their children to run across the street where there are no crosswalks even then yard duties and teachers say no. Teachers have reported near misses in the parking lot. Parents are on their cellphones when in the lane leading up to the school. Parents have jumped the lane and cut into the lane due to impatience. Remember the drivers make it unsafe for our children whether there are more crossing guards or not. Vintage Hills parents need to come together as a community and all agree to follow the rules of road around the schools whether they like it or not; the rules are to keep all children safe.


julee
Registered user
Del Prado
on Mar 20, 2019 at 3:29 am
julee, Del Prado
Registered user
on Mar 20, 2019 at 3:29 am
5 people like this

Grumpy and Map - Thank you for your comments toward my husband, the crossing guard for Vintage Hills School, Bob. I want to say that there are a lot of wonderful parents, grandparents and children that are so nice to my husband. He is really appreciative of all of the people that make his job enjoyable. They are so good and kind to him. Bob does not do this job for the money, ha, but the children. He cares about their safety and well being. They are so cute and he enjoys seeing them each day. Thank you so much to these people!


DKHSK
Registered user
Bridle Creek
on Mar 20, 2019 at 11:16 am
DKHSK, Bridle Creek
Registered user
on Mar 20, 2019 at 11:16 am
2 people like this

In the Poway school district in San Diego, at the elementary school level they still have kids perform the cross-walking duties along with a supervising teacher.

Why do we need adults who are paid to do what the kids are able and willing to do for free?








Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Mar 20, 2019 at 11:54 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Mar 20, 2019 at 11:54 am
Like this comment

Dan, Well, you are asking a paid teacher (more expensive) to supervise a “volunteer” child.


DKHSK
Registered user
Bridle Creek
on Mar 20, 2019 at 12:33 pm
DKHSK, Bridle Creek
Registered user
on Mar 20, 2019 at 12:33 pm
Like this comment

"you are asking a paid teacher (more expensive) to supervise a “volunteer” child."

Kathleen, you don't know what the cost differential is anymore than I do. My greater point is that you can have kids do the work and teach them responsibility. I did when I was in 5th grade.

What is the issue?


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Mar 20, 2019 at 2:44 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Mar 20, 2019 at 2:44 pm
4 people like this

Crossing guards: Web Link Less expensive than a teacher. And I would rather a teacher is spending time on, you know, teaching, preparation, and being available to students who might need extra help in any given subject.

My argument against a 5th grader, supervised or not, is safety. But if you think they should have that experience, a crossing guard could supervise them--although I would venture to guess guards don't want that responsibility along with getting little ones through traffic.

Ultimately, what you or I or anyone else may have done as a child doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea now.


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