As the 2019-2020 school year begins, let’s remember to keep safety in mind to ensure our students and drivers make it to their destination. Keep the focus on safety – don’t drive distracted, be aware of speed limits, traffic, pedestrians, and motorists.
One of the most important things that drivers and pedestrians can do to be safe is prepare. Many local schools will be resuming classes next week and more traffic is expected. Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District students return on Tues., Aug 13 and Sonoma State University instruction begins on Tues., Aug 20 (Move-In weekend begins Sat., Aug 17). Leave plenty of time to account for additional bikes, pedestrians crossing, and drop-off/pick-up school traffic. Streets and neighborhoods around Technology Middle School, Lawrence Jones Middle School and Rancho Cotate High School typically experience the most school-related congestion. East Cotati Ave. near SSU is also expected to be busy. Additionally, the opening of Technology High School’s new campus on Bonnie Ave. will bring new congestion to the area. School zones are clearly marked by signs and the speed limit is 25 miles per hour (prepare for heightened public safety traffic enforcement). A mere 10 mile per hour increase in your speed increases your stopping distance by 60 feet.
Dropping your student(s) off at designated unloading/loading zones not only helps with traffic congestion but also is the safest choice. Pull all the way over and make sure your passengers don’t unload until the car is adjacent to the curb and comes to a complete stop. As excited as your students may be to reunite with their schoolmates, running near moving vehicles is dangerous.
Distracted driving involves more than using an electronic device while driving. It also involves signing field trip permission slips or scavenging a backpack to check if school lunch was packed. Enlist the help of your passengers or pull to the side of the road to avoid driving distracted.
Bicyclists need to wear helmets that are securely fastened and obey the rules of the road. Remind your student(s) to always use the crosswalk signal button when crossing the road and make sure motorists see you. Wear reflective clothing or items on back packs to increase your visibility. It is a crime to ride or walk on the SMART train tracks because it is extremely dangerous. Do not cross the tracks except where designated and follow all traffic signals when crossing. NEVER cross around the crossing arms when they are down. The train is moving faster than you think and cannot stop quickly. Additional train safety information can be found at BeTrackSMART.org.
Rohnert Park is a bicycle and pedestrian friendly community. We encourage motorists and bicyclists to share the road. We look forward to working with the community in keeping it safe as our student population gets back into the swing of things this school year!
We’d like to take a moment to remind residents of the importance of our local businesses. Whether it be new school clothes, pens, pencils, highlighters, or backpacks school shopping at local retailers is a win-win. According to the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, every $100 spent locally circulates $168 in the local economy. Our local business owners are our friends, neighbors and fellow residents. We’re confident that you can find everything you need to prepare in Rohnert Park.
Our friends at the Rohnert Park Chamber of Commerce are happy to share their list of local retailers at rohnertparkchamber.org.