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School Trustee Calls for Cities, County to Work with District on Student Safety


schoolzone-speedlimitsignandlight-300x225-3530808-1880930A 13-year-old girl sustained minor injuries Monday morning after being hit by a vehicle in a marked pedestrian crosswalk on her way to school and one school trustee is asking for remedies.

During Tuesday’s board meeting, Washoe County School District trustee John Mayer said he wanted an update concerning congestion near schools in light of this incident.

“I’d like to know how the cities, county, and school district are adjusting traffic patterns around schools,” Mayer said. “We’ve got to be proactive instead of reactive.”

Mayer noted the girl was lucky and that she could’ve been killed.

He recalled the 2004 death of 12-year-old Dilworth Middle School student Peter Venegas, who was killed the first week of classes when crossing Pyramid Way near D Street in Sparks on his way to school. The intersection is about two-thirds of a mile from the campus, now known as Dilworth STEM Academy.

News archives indicated traffic in an outside lane stopped for children at a crosswalk. As children stepped into the crosswalk, a moving motorist in the lane next to the stopped vehicles didn’t stop. Venegas was struck and thrown across Pyramid Way.

Mayer said children are excited about getting back to school and many motorists aren’t paying attention.

The girl, believed to be an O’Brien Middle School student, sustained minor injuries in the area of Silver Lake and Stead boulevards about a quarter mile from O’Brien. She was transported to a hospital by request of her family.

Reno police said it’s possible the motorist might have been distracted by the early morning sun and could have been unaware he or she struck anyone.

“Traffic there is terrible,” Mayer said. “People come off the (U.S. 395) freeway and don’t slow down.”

Photo: Washoe County School District

More strobes or similar-type lights are needed in crosswalks, Mayer said. But as a former Sparks city councilman, he admits such tasks are easier said than done. However, Mayer noted Lemelson STEM Academy on Soaring Eagle Drive has such lights, as does Dilworth on Prater Way.

“They’re around, but not a lot,” Mayer said.

Students attending elementary schools are eligible for bus service if they live more than a mile from campus. Middle and high school students are bus eligible if they’re more than 2 and 3 miles from campus, respectively. There are exceptions to that rule if it’s been determined there’s no safe walking route.

Mayer said he hopes children eligible for bus transportation will take the bus.

The Reno Police Department on Monday put out the following safety tips:

  • Slow down when entering the area of a school and look out for children.
  • Don’t drop off or pick up children across the street from their school.
  • When zone flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the street.
  • Stop for crossing guards.
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
  • Use sun visors when the sun is obstructing vision.

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Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.




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