More than a month after three students were injured while crossing El Camino Real on their way to Peterson Middle School, the City of Sunnyvale and the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) are still working toward a permanent solution. Both sides took immediate action following the incident, but a longer-term solution requires more planning.
“Immediately after the accident, the school had an adult out there, including our safety officers. Shortly after, we put out Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers,” said Jaqui Guzman, Sunnyvale’s Deputy City Manager.
On Nov. 4, Sunnyvale DPS officers and City employees began volunteer shifts to staff the crosswalk until a solution could be found.
On the morning of Oct. 28, three students were hit by a car while crossing El Camino Real at Poplar Avenue. All three students were taken to the hospital, one with a possible concussion, and two with broken legs.
In a joint statement released to the Peterson Middle School community on Thursday night, the City and SCUSD offered more details on what has happened since the accident to improve the situation and what will happen in the future.
“City and District staff inquired with All City Management Services (ACMS), the City’s crossing guard contractor, about adding crossing guards at Poplar and Henderson. ACMS does not currently have available staff but is actively working to recruit for these positions. City staff and volunteers will continue to staff the intersections until ACMS staff are available,” read the statement.
The City has worked with CalTrans to change the timing of the intersection signals on Poplar Avenue and Henderson Avenue. The signals are now delayed to give pedestrians more time and greater visibility as they cross the street.
The City and SCUSD are working with CalTrans on adding a crosswalk countdown at the Poplar Avenue crossing. The Henderson Avenue crossing already has a crosswalk countdown. All three are also working together to place additional pedestrian and bicycle safety measures on El Camino Real.
The City says some of the improvements will fall under the City’s Active Transportation Plan and its new Vision Zero Plan. The Vision Zero Plan was approved on July 30.
The City and SCUSD have promised to update the Peterson Middle School community of any new traffic changes.
The joint message closed with the following statement: “The safety of our residents and students is our highest priority in the City of Sunnyvale and Santa Clara Unified School District. We have heard and understand your concerns about the safety at these El Camino Real intersections and will continue to work together and with CalTrans to address them.”
If you would like to apply to be a crossing guard for Peterson Middle School, you can apply online with ACMS. The address is acmssafety.com/employees.