Before any learning begins at the start of the school year, students first have to arrive at their campuses safely.
District and city officials this week are urging parents, children and other commuters to be mindful of construction zones and road closures as transportation work continues across Santa Monica.
Of particular concern is the area near Santa Monica High School, where crews are in the process of creating streets for one-way traffic going westbound on Michigan Avenue between Lincoln Boulevard and 7th Street and southbound on 7th Street between Michigan Avenue and Pico Boulevard.
Striping and traffic signal work are expected this week at the intersection of Pico and 7th, and the signals at Pico and 6th Street are also being altered. Median work is ongoing on Pico, although at least one lane of traffic will be open in each direction at all times, according to a city report.
“There’s construction work going on there, which could impact getting in and out near Samohi,” Santa Monica-Malibu school district spokeswoman Gail Pinsker said. “Parents and students need to be extra alert, use a little extra caution and be aware that the City is shifting that stretch to a one-way.”
The ongoing project is part of the Safe Routes to School program. It is meant to reduce conflicts between pedestrians and drivers during drop-off and pick-up times, add space for designated bike lanes and improve crossings and sidewalks around Samohi, where Pinsker said parking is limited.
As part of the project, a two-way bikeway will be built along Pico Boulevard between 6th and 7th streets.
The district will provide stakeholders with updates about the road reconfigurations near Samohi, Pinsker said.
“Parents just need to allow a little extra time and have patience,” Pinsker said. “We do expect more parent drivers than usual on the first few days of school before students get into a routine of walking or biking.”
Pinsker said parents should make drop-off and pick-up plans with their children in advance. All drivers should be courteous of other parents as well as community members who are going to and from work, she said.
Pinsker added that drivers should obey speed limits, follow traffic laws and refrain from using cellphones. Parents should make sure they’re not blocking homeowners’ driveways near schools in residential areas, she said.
“We want all of our students to be safe every day,” Pinsker said. “We’re all excited and looking forward to a great first day.”
For more information about construction in Santa Monica, visit www.smconstructs.org.
For more information about the Safe Routes to School project, go to www.smgov.net/Departments/PCD/Plans/Samohi-Safe-Routes-Improvements.