Too Many Close Calls – Rainier Ave/Franklin HS

I literally came within inches of hitting three Franklin HS kids this morning who were crossing the street in the middle of moving traffic. A van in the left-hand lane was stopped, I was in the right hand lane, and next thing you know there were three kids in front of my car. I screeched to a stop and luckily didn’t hit them, or get hit myself by the car in back of me.   

I commute to work everyday heading north on Rainier and too many times to count over the past couple years I have almost hit kids (or witnessed other cars stopping, or screeching to a stop) who are crossing Rainier Ave south of this intersection without using the overpass or cross walks. It’s a very busy traffic time of the morning, and the kids don’t even wait until there are no cars passing. They start stepping out into the street and they basically obligate the cars to stop for them. And of course, most of the time cars do stop because, who wants to hit a kid? This seems to be an issue always around the same time for me, between about 7:30 and 7:45 in the mornings. If I’m passing by here a little earlier or a little later, I don’t see the same problem. It is this specific 15 minute period of time when this seems to be an issue in the mornings.

I feel like I need to do something to let people know this is a problem.  I have called the school at least five times over the past couple of years about this. They’ve told me there’s nothing they can really do, to call the police, so I have done this as well a number of times. Once in a while the police do station someone there to monitor, and the issue improves for a while. Today (and many other days recently) there was a police officer with a radar gun two blocks south of this intersection when I almost hit these kids (two blocks south was obviously too far away to do anything about this issue).

 Today, because I had to do something more than just call, I went and was able to speak with the Vice Principal, Patricia Newton, at Franklin. She listened, and said she understood this was a big problem. But, unfortunately, I didn’t feel that she wasn’t very helpful with regard to working on any new solutions. She told me “we’ve told the kids not to do this” and “we’ve talked with the police” but told me there wasn’t anything more they can do. I asked about stationing one of their security people down there (because I remember they used to do this and this was effective), but she says they don’t have the resources and she wouldn’t promise something that they wouldn’t follow through with. Franklin High says it’s not their problem. I wonder if it will be “more of their problem” when a child or children are killed or seriously injured?

It seems terrible to wait for something terrible to happen before we respond with some action.