By Karen Billing
As crossing Del Mar Trails to get to school is somewhat of a terrifying adventure for Carmel Del Mar students, parents have rallied to get a crosswalk put on the busy street at Camarero Court.
On Tuesday morning, March 13, families crossed in bulk as a pedestrian foot traffic counter was expected to be in the neighborhood reviewing the street for possible crosswalks and stop signs. It wasn’t exactly a protest, as parent Paula Moore said the city has been incredibly cooperative and helpful—it was more of a movement to draw attention to a serious issue.
“We’ve had several near misses,” said Moore, noting some parents have even almost been hit.
Children are walking to school at the same time as people are headed to work and parent Allison Healy-Poe said drivers are often very aggressive and won’t stop to allow people to cross.
“We cross every morning with two kids and even for us, as adults, it’s scary,” said parent Karen Weick, who moved to the area in June from La Jolla, with the main attraction being that they would be able to walk their kids to school. “It’s so great everybody walks to school but the one drawback is crossing Del Mar Trails.”
The parents brought the issue to the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board and have had a lot of help from the city and from District 1 Councilmember Sherri Lightner. A city traffic engineer visited the school two weeks ago with a map and parents pointed out all of the problem areas.
An entrance to a greenbelt that leads all the way to school is close by Camarero, so it is a natural crossing spot for parents and students. While families usually cross at multiple points on Del Mar Trails, Moore said if a crosswalk was in place at the top of the greenbelt, all families would use it.
“The city needs to step up for our elementary students to have safer roads and better school zone signage and crosswalks,” Moore said.