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N. San Pedro Traffic Hazards the Cause of Hit-and-run Accident, Reader Says

Email your letters to nicole.ely@patch.com.

Editor's note: This reader wrote a letter about his reaction to a rear-end collision that pushed a car into a pedestrian and injured two women on Oct. 3. Read the full story here.

Once again we have had a serious traffic incident where a pedestrian was hit while in a cross walk between the Bernard Osher Jewish Community Center and Venetia Valley School. Unfortunately my family and I were eye witnesses and saw the entire incident happen.

It is time Marin County, San Rafael City School District and the JCC address the serious traffic safety issues as well as the horrible traffic flow in this area.  I have tried to work for roughly five years with Susan Adams, Marin County Traffic Department and Venetia Valley School.

Ms. Adams has been ignoring this issue. The head of the Marin County Traffic Department has refused to implement any of the ideas or consult with the school for improved traffic flow after several ideas were discussed. The Marin County Sheriff's Department is lax in having a presence when the morning school traffic is happening. If they are present, they sit in their vehicle with no help to getting drivers attention to move traffic smoothly and safely.

Now we have had a pedestrian who appears to have been a JCC employee crossing over to the Venetia Valley side of the street. Why? Was her vehicle parked in the Venetia Valley parking lot? Was she a responsible citizen who walked to work or was crossing to get to a bus stop because her employer will not provide adequate parking for their employees or a safe route for those who are environmentally conscious? 

Unfortunately, we have a driver who has now injured two women.  Although he hit the women, the prevention of something like this happening falls squarely on Marin County, JCC and the school district. This issue has been going on for over 15 years, with a few minor fixes that give minor traffic relief in the past and a whole lot of ignoring and hoping something won’t happen. Well it just did.

The JCC provides inadequate parking for the facilities and programs. There is not enough parking for every day operations let alone when special events are scheduled.  People are parking irresponsibly and crossing North San Pedro irresponsibly. It is the JCC’s issue as they are not providing a safe and adequate venue for their members, employees, school children and parishioners. These folks have no choice and create a very hazardous situation. 

The school district has overloaded Venetia Valley School with families from outside of the neighborhood which brings in extra traffic that would otherwise not be in our area.  They have ignored suggestions on how to improve flow and safety.   They have been unable to keep a consistent administration who actually have time to focus on children’s safety.  They are too busy getting familiar with their school and physically cannot do all that is needed.

The traffic department completely ignored suggestions that were pretty easy and with limited cost to improve flow and safety for our school children. I specifically asked for a consultation with the department and the head of the department refused.   This was most recently done in May of this year.

The sheriff’s office is totally inactive when it comes to the morning and after school traffic. If by sitting in your vehicle and watching is helping, then I guess I have missed something. They also need to enforce traffic and parking laws.  

What can we do to fix these problems? They can no longer be ignored as this could have been a child or someone you know. 

After having my wife and daughter witness this accident, I am feeling guilty in part for having given up. During our usual drive on N. San Pedro to work the other morning, I told my wife that the county and the district had worn me down. I typically cannot be worn down, but ignorance and a total lack of care is something I could not fight. Well, after what happened, I will not quit.

I don’t know which is harder, dealing with agencies that refuse to listen or act or trying to console my 9-year-old daughter who cried for roughly two hours and said she is never going to cross a street again and that all she can see in her mind is the lady being thrown up onto the hood of the car and falling to the ground. What do you think is harder?

I am requesting the Board of Supervisors, Marin County and San Rafael City Schools being to fix a correctable problem. I will not quit this time and will take it as high and to as many people and agencies as I have to.

--Mike Hogin

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Monique Pflager October 16, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Mike I am so ready to help! I have had two children past and present at the JCC preschool. It is so unsafe. While I agree with most of what you said, I do have to say, no organization should have to have parking for 'all' of its employees. That being said, the accesability and safety of the street parking is so under par. Also, Venetia Valley is no longer a neighborhood school. Most of the school age children that I know in SV transfer to Glenwood because of VV catering to other communities. It is by default a commuter school with zero parking. I know the JCC is fighting for permits to create more parking, but again the county is falling short in its duties. This is about bad policy all around. Changing a neighborhood school into a commuter school without the spacial capabilities, the timing of school hours that causes so much gridlock, and the inability of non-neighborhood car divers to respect and follow basic safefty laws. I place most of this on Venetia valley. On most mornings I find myself cursing under my breath at a rude driver in my neighborhood who has no care in the world to follow the laws. The county should be ahsamed.
RebeccaHornick October 16, 2012 at 10:33 PM
This problem is the JCC's fault NOT Venetia Valley's. To perpetuate an outdated stereotype that Venetia Valley is a commuter's school is not only unfair, it is erroneous. My 3 boys attend the school and I live mere blocks away. Moreover I have over 15 friends who live in the district and whose children attend their neighborhood school. This hit and run was not the school's fault. JCC does not provide adequate parking for its patrons and employees and has relied too long on VV's parking lot. Moreover, the rude and inattentive drivers and pedestrians of whom Monique speaks, seem to be coming from the JCC, not from the school. Just the other night at dusk (the most dangerous time for pedestrians to be crossing the street) I was driving past the school at 20 MPH. Suddenly, a well dressed couple, who failed to push the walk button which alights the crosswalk for safety, stepped out in front of my car with nary a look. Lucky for them, I was driving below the speed limit and was able to stop on time, However, the man had the unmitigated gall to scream girlishly at me,"Pedestrians have the right of way!" Well, yes, they do but common sense also dictates that pedestrians look both ways to ensure safety before crossing. Monique you putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of VV is just plain wrong--you're even faulting their hours which is in keeping with all of the other school hours statewide. I smell an unflattering sense of entitlement.
RebeccaHornick October 16, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Monique, there are so many holes in your argument, I do not even know where to start. One one hand you say that no organization should be obligated to provide parking for their employees (the JCC doesn't even provide adequate parking for its patrons) and on the other hand, you are critical of VV for providing "zero parking." I do not understand why you seem determined to absolve the JCC of any responsibility while blaming the school for the traffic/safety issues. Also, I defy you to visit any school--be it Terra Linda High School, Miller Creek Middle School or Dixie Elementary, all the aforementioned schools are highly congested during drop off and pick up times,

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