In response to concerns about the safety of students walking to local schools, the City of Menifee and the Menifee Police Department have increased patrols around schools and will initiate traffic engineering studies in the coming months to determine the need for additional services.
The city has been in communication with officials at Menifee Union School District (MUSD) and is considering outreach measures to educate drivers and students on traffic laws and increase awareness of pedestrian safety.
“We look forward to engaging with the district and the public on this issue and encourage continued open dialogue and ideas from parents and students on how to improve safety and security,” City Manager Armando Villa said.
In the past, MUSD employed crossing guards for the safety of children going to school but has reduced the number of crossing guards this year. California law does not require school districts, cities, or counties to use crossing guards.
“Schools, police, the city, parents, students and the public must work together to determine the best method for reducing accidents and injuries,” Menifee Police Capt. Dave Gutierrez said.
Menifee’s Public Works Department regularly studies traffic patterns throughout the city to assess the need for crosswalks, stop signs and traffic signals. As part of its Capital Improvement Program, the city has funded a traffic signal at Menifee and La Piedra roads, east of Bell Mountain Middle School.
Studies take into consideration multiple factors, including school attendance, speed limits, vehicle and pedestrian volume, and traffic patterns. Members of the public can request a study of a location of particular concern.
Additional measures that are helpful in reducing incidents include posting signs, adjusting traffic patterns around schools, and using volunteers to supervise children at drop-off and pick-up times.
Below are some safety tips for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists:
- Do not use a cell phone while driving or walking.
- Bicyclists should walk their bikes across the street.
- Drivers: Slow down and prepare to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk; never pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk.
- Pedestrians: Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections; look for cars in all directions, including those turning; walk on sidewalks when available.
- Bicyclists: Ride with the flow of traffic and follow all the same rules of the roadway a driver must follow, including stopping at stops signs and red lights.