Picture getting dropped off at the southwest corner of the Ocean Avenue-Highway One intersection, directly across from the school. As you open the door and say goodbye to your mom, a car rams into your door, causing you to get pulled from your seat and out of the car.
Early in the year this happened to me because a man decided to try squeezing between the curb and a line of cars that were ahead of him, just so he could make that right turn faster. There are dozens of students who get dropped off in that same place every day, and any one of them could have been hit just like I was.
According to Don Perry, CHS campus supervisor, in the early 2000s a sheriff named John Burke directed traffic in this intersection, but was reassigned because of lack in budget.
“He would direct traffic in the morning and afternoon, and I would help him,” Perry says, “When he was reassigned then I actually did the traffic, like a police man, in the middle of the intersection.”
But a police officer told Perry that he was not authorized to direct traffic in that intersection because he was not a police officer. The campus supervisors are now only allowed to direct traffic on campus.
“I usually get out at either this intersection or the crosswalk a street down, and it seems safe enough since it is right next to the crosswalk,” sophomore Anna Bransford says. “My mom needs to go to work, so she usually just makes the turn there after I get out.”
Although this intersection is where a lot of CHS students like Bransford get dropped off, it is not an authorized drop-off, and according to assistant principal Martin Enriquez, parents who drop their kids off there can get a ticket.
To make this intersection safer, Enriquez suggests that the city put in an actual sidewalk with a curb to avoid cars trying to make a third lane, and there would be no way a car could get through.
“I also suggest they put a no drop-off sign,” Enriquez says. “Caltrans and the city should know by now that we have a lot of parents driving up this road in the morning. If they put the signs, then I think hopefully that would make parents recognize that and follow the rules.”
Another issue CHS has is the fact that we have a three-way stop sign right next to the traffic light. Because of this, in the morning and afternoon rush everyone tries to beat the light. Carmel High was able to get Caltrans to lengthen the signals in the morning and after school within the past two years.
Another way CHS has tried to take care of this problem by sending out blackboard messages to parents reminding them to respect the stop signs that are at the front edge road and coming out of the parking lot. They have also sent notices to the transportation director telling him that the buses must obey the stop signs coming from the ring road next to the theater.
According to Enriquez, Perry and campus supervisor Pam Sullivan, these problems could be resolved if students and parents would be more patient.
“Everyone is in such a rush, and they don’t have the patience that is needed,” Sullivan says. “This school wasn’t built for this many kids, and no matter what we do there will always be traffic. So if people could just give themselves five more minutes, I think things would be better off.”