This week marks back-to-school time for all of the elementary districts and the William S. Hart Union High School District here in the Santa Clarita Valley. The city of Santa Clarita would like to welcome students back to class and remind everyone of important safety messages and programs.
“This is an exciting time for both parents and students,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean. “We want to remind drivers to expect more students in the crosswalks, especially around local schools. Please drive cautiously in these areas and leave early to give yourself extra time to get where you are going.”
The city has also developed a data-driven program to enhance safety for pedestrians and drivers in school areas. The city continuously analyzes traffic data and uses the information gathered to enhance its crossing guard program, which provides crossing guards at 39 crosswalk sites in all four school districts within the city of Santa Clarita.
The city is also conducting studies and reviewing designs for its Safe Routes to School program, which will identify walking routes for students and families around schools that minimizes the need to cross busy intersections. A new “pedestrian scramble” traffic signal phase at Seco Canyon Road and Decoro Drive, near Santa Clarita Elementary School and Arroyo Seco Junior High, will modify the existing traffic sequence to allow for all pedestrians to cross at once while traffic is stopped. This modification will be in effect during busy morning drop-off and after-school pick-up hours to enhance pedestrian safety and reduce vehicle back-up.
Another way the city is creating a safe environment on campus is by partnering with the William S. Hart Union High School District to provide school resource deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
“Not only does our amazing team of school resource deputies help keep school campuses safe, they also help educate students on everything from personal safety and internet safety—to bike and pedestrian safety,” said Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Captain Robert Lewis.
The city’s Drug Free Youth in the Santa Clarita Valley team, or DFY in SCV, has already kicked off the school year, welcoming new students at registration events. At the elementary school level, city staff introduce the message of saying “no” to drugs and alcohol through age-appropriate workbooks, as well as various assemblies that teach about the dangers of drugs and strategies for making positive choices. As kids get older, they have the opportunity to join drug-free clubs and develop a positive peer network in junior high and high school, while also giving back to the community through community service projects.
“It is important to the city council, and the city as a whole, that these vital programs and enhancements are included in our budget,” said Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin. “Our DFY in SCV program has reached more than 55,000 students since it began back in 2012. It has grown and evolved to meet the specific needs of our community. We take the safety and well-being of our residents seriously and want to do all we can to make it a safe and successful school year for all.”
Other city initiatives, such as the award-winning Heads Up! program, continue to reinforce positive behaviors in youth when it comes to traffic safety, pedestrian awareness and making positive choices as a new driver.
To learn more about these city programs, visit santa-clarita.com/headsup and dfyinscv.com.