by Mitch Lehman
The San Marino Police Department returned last Wednesday morning to the site of their first pedestrian safety operation of the modern era – the corner of Huntington Drive and Chelsea Road.
There, fifteen years ago, a San Marino Police officer was nearly struck by a passing vehicle as he walked north across the intersection. The incident highlighted a need for traffic awareness, especially during morning commute hours when local school children are most visible. Including Stoneman, all six campuses in San Marino are located on Huntington Drive.
Last week, 112 drivers were cited for a variety of offenses, 105 of which failed to stop for a pedestrian in a cross walk. In addition four drivers did not have a valid driver’s license – and three vehicles did not have a licensed driver.
The operation – praised by many and panned by a few, who often cite “entrapment” – was completed with the assistance of officer sand personnel from the San Gabriel and Alhambra Police Departments as well as the Cal State – L.A. Police Department.
“The goal and purpose of these operations is to reduce the likelihood of pedestrian versus vehicle related injuries and fatalities,” said San Marino Police Lt. Les Rune. “The cooperation with our law enforcement partners ensured the success of this safety program. Throughout the morning operation, several people thanked the officers for the pedestrian enforcement as they had observed several near-misses involving pedestrians at the location.”
San Marino Police Chief John Incontro personally oversaw the operation, his first since being sworn in last month.
“I was impressed with the operation and also went away frightened at how close the cars came to our officers and civilian personnel,” said Incontro. “It serves as another reminder that our residents must be careful when crossing our city streets, as commuters are often not paying attention.”