City of Palo Alto police plan a crackdown on traffic violators in all local school zones during peak commute hours next week (Oct. 3-7), as part of "Operation Safe Passage," a public-safety awareness program mounted in conjunction with Santa Clara County law enforcement agencies, the police department announced Thursday.
Officers will strictly enforce traffic violations by both motorists and students. The police department participates in the program three times each year in order to increase the safety of students commuting to and from school.
The monitoring is being undertaken along with the school district's 'Palo Alto Walks and Rolls' week, which encourages students and their parents to leave their cars at home and instead walk or bicycle to school.
Police will be citing violators who:
Fail to stop for school buses with flashing stoplights
Fail to yield to pedestrians
Are juvenile bicyclists without required helmets or are not properly wearing them
Violate seat belt and child restraint seat laws
Use a cell phone or text
Fail to stop at a stop sign
More than 6,400 Palo Alto Unified School District students are also expected to take part in Palo Alto Walks and Rolls. The annual event is organized by the Palo Alto PTAs, City of Palo Alto and the school district, which formed "Safe Routes to Schools."
The event works to improve student safety during commutes to school and encourages use of more healthful and "green" transportation.
Operation Safe Passage also comes on the heels of the accident Wednesday that killed 6-year-old East Palo Alto resident Sioreli Torres Zamora. Sioreli was fatally struck by a car in a crosswalk on Bay Road in East Palo Alto while walking to school with her mother and two siblings.
The driver was East Palo Alto teacher, Alisha Whiteparker, who was on her way to work at Costano Elementary School.