Police to crack down on speeders near San Marino schools
By Brian Day, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/12/2009 04:14:26 PM PST
Get behind the yellow tape in the Crime Scene blog
SAN MARINO - Motorists driving too fast near school zones could soon see flashing lights in their rear-views.
Police announced they plan to crack down on speeders in local 25 mph school zones. Over the next few weeks, enforcement will get increasingly tougher, beginning with a public education phase and ultimately ending with officers issuing citations, San Marino Police Department Chief John Schaefer said Thursday.
"Our goal is to make our school zones as safe as possible, which means people really need to slow down," he said.
Police will focus largely on low-speed zones around Valentine Elementary School and Huntington Middle School, both of which are situated on heavily traveled Huntington Drive, Schaefer said.
"Valentine and Huntington are the two that there is the biggest issue at," the chief said.
In a written statement, the department said the crackdown is being conducted because of increasing traffic, but also because police have received complaints from residents.
That prompted police to take a more proactive role. In the past, having a large presence of officers around schools was enough to deter speeders. But that tactic apparently may no longer may be sufficient.
"As traffic has increased, we have heard more residents voicing concerns about speeding vehicles near the schools," the department's statement said.
San Marino Unified School District Superintendent Gary Woods likes the idea.
"The school district is appreciative of the San Marino Police Department," he said. "We're working cooperatively with them to support an increased traffic enforcement, especially around our schools, where we have almost 3,200 students going to school every."
He added that the district sends out reminders to parents several times a year, cautioning them to obey speed limits when driving through school zones.
A speed limit of 25 mph when children are present is clearly posted for both directions, Schaefer said.
Parents, school officials and residents are being notified about the campaign through electronic newsletters from both the San Marino Police Department and the San Marino Unified School District, officials said.
Beginning next week, large electronic signs will go up near Huntington Middle and Valentine, reminding drivers of the speed limit and warning them that violators will be cited.
About a week after that, drivers can expect to see extra officers patrolling around the schools, police said. For the first two to three weeks, drivers will be issued warnings in lieu of tickets.
But after that, cops will cite drivers who don't obey speed laws, Schaefer said.
"We're trying to get the word out to try and get voluntary compliance," he said. "If we don't write a ticket, I'll be the happiest man in the world."
(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4586