The speeding car ran a red light on Laurel Canyon and almost hit four children crossing the street coming from .
“It came within inches of the children, it was so close,” said father Geoff Stevens, whose sons Matthew, 10 and Connor, 7, were nearly hit.
“Maybe it was a fluke, maybe it was just this one time,” said father James Carpinello. But this one time would have meant that his daughter Ava, 5, and son, Jack, 7, would have been hit by a car while crossing the street properly.
“There are trees blocking the streetlights, and the lines on the street that warned drivers of an upcoming school crosswalk were paved over when the street was recently repaired,” said Carpenter’s PTA president . (See some photos of the scene that Barrett provided to Studio City Patch in the photo gallery.) “There’s nothing to warn drivers that you’re coming up to a school.”
The outrage and concern of the near-miss of the gray Toyota (maybe a silver Prius)—that did not stop—caused parents to go to Los Angeles Councilman Paul Krekorian’s office, and contact city Department of Transportation officials. On Wednesday night, they presented the issue to the Studio City Neighborhood Council.
Transportation committee chairman Ben DiBenedetto of the council, said, “The city repaved the crosswalk warnings and they never replaced the stripes on the road. There have been many near misses.”
Rita Villa, the secretary of the council, took the issue a bit more personally. “I’m a grandma and have three grandkids crossing that street every day,” she said.
In fact, two of her grandchildren, Josh and James, attended the council meeting and shouted their support of a motion to make the streets safe around the school. Their mom, Judy Villa, said, “Parents need to stand up and do something about this.”
Rita Villa’s other daughter, Cheryl, showed the council a slide show of illegally-parked cars around the school and parking on sidewalks at Carpenter, Laurelwood and Carpenter Court roads. “That’s my nephew having to walk into the street because the car is parked over the sidewalk,” she said. “There’s just no consideration.”
About a decade ago, a child was killed in the crosswalk, Barrett said. At that time, Carpenter had 700 students. Now they have 920.
“There have been so many near-misses, this is of grave concern,” Barrett said. “It is very, very frightening for a parent, and for a child.”
Neighborhood Council vice president Lisa Sarkin said, “There were only 450 students there when I went there with Richard [Neiderberg, a fellow council member] and even then I was nervous about walking along that road toward Ventura.”
Fellow council member s son graduated from Carpenter two years ago and said, “That school increased by 200 in a small amount of time. There are a lot of kids wedged into that school. It should be clearly marked.”
Los Angeles Police Senior Lead Officer Mike Lewis said the police will be issuing more tickets and increasing patrols on both sides of the school.
Geoffrey Yazzetta from Councilman Krekorian’s office confirmed that road patrols and ticketing will be stepped up around the school, and they are talking to the Urban Forestry department to trim the trees in the area. “Councilman Krekorian is committed to public safety,” Yazzetta said. “There needs to be signs there to let people know there’s a school right there.”
The council voted to ask Krekorian and the DOT to “increase safety awareness at the crosswalk at Laurel Canyon and Maxwellton Road … by implementing safety measures including trimming trees, re-installing school crossing markings on the pavement, installing school crossing signage and installing Botts’ dots to better identify a school crossing zone.” The motion also included enforcing red curb enforcement in the Laurelwood and Carpenter area.
The motion passed unanimously and will be sent to the various city departments.
Outside the meeting at the , the fathers were happy about the vote.
“We’ll see where it goes from here,” Stevens said. “I’ve lived in Studio City for 12 years and I’ve never been more concerned about the safety than any other period of my life.”
Carpinello added, “We had to do something. Our children were almost mowed down.”