This morning’s commute was especially harrowing. I’m not talking about bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic on the freeway. No, this was even more frightening: the daily fight to get my daughter to our neighborhood school, safely and on time.
Things have certainly changed since I was a kid. I walked to school every day without supervision – as did just about everyone else I knew. Today, it’s rare to see a child walking or riding a bike – at least, unaccompanied by an adult. It’s too dangerous. There are too many cars on the road, too many drivers talking on cellphones instead of watching for children in crosswalks, too many people in too much of a hurry to notice they are passing through a school zone.
And the worst offenders are other moms – like you and me. This morning, I had to navigate around cars that were double-parked, cars parked in crosswalks and cars parked in red zones.
Moms: I realize that your children are as precious to you as mine is to me. I know you want to see them walk through the school gates safely. I understand that it’s sometimes a struggle to get your kids out the door on time, and that you probably have an employer who is unsympathetic when you show up late. But for Heaven’s sake – please stop parking in the red zones! You are impeding the traffic flow, making it just that much harder for the rest of us to get our children to school on time. On top of that, when your SUV is parked in a crosswalk, you are blocking the view of the vehicles behind you, endangering the lives of the children who are using it.
I have a novel idea for when you can’t find a space right in front of the school: park on the nearest side street, GET OUT OF YOUR CAR and walk your children to the gate. You will both have the pleasure of a proper send-off, with the added benefit of the peace of mine that comes from being part of the solution instead of the problem.
Donna is a San Fernando Valley wife and mother.