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Traffic concerns brewing from residents near Rancho Bernardo elementary school

Three pedestrians, including a 6-year-old child, were hit by a car near Westwood Elementary; now, residents have had enough of the traffic pattern.

SAN DIEGO — An ambulance, fire truck, and police cars spotted in a school parking lot yesterday sent a mom to the office searching for answers, but she said she was told it was nothing.

That mom said kids and parents had been hit by cars around Westwood Elementary School in Rancho Bernardo and felt more needed to be done to keep kids safe.

“Over 900 students are coming and going daily,” said the mother.

She did not want to identify herself for fear her children will be punished for speaking up about traffic concerns.

“We shouldn't be worried about dropping off our kids at school, and they are going to get hit by a car,” said the mother.

She worried about three pedestrians hit by cars and the close calls around her kid's school.

The San Diego Fire Department responded to two incidents in December 2022. On Dec. 8, on Pablado Road, at about 2 p.m., a 6-year-old boy was hurt and transported to Children’s Hospital as a trauma patient. 

On December 14, around 7:20 a.m., a mom and her child were hit by a car on Florindo and Poblado Roads. They were transported to Rady Children’s Hospital and Sharp Memorial. Both were reported as trauma patients. 

CBS 8 was told they recovered, but their injuries are unknown.

“We take a longer route to try and ensure that we don't have to cross the street or get there early to make sure it's not so crowded,” said the mother.

She said the safety summit with the Rancho Bernardo Community Council and San Diego Police in January hadn't changed the driver's behavior.

“We attended the safety summit to make sure that there were the necessary precautions taken; we've reached out to the school and office and not getting clear information,” said the mother.

The mom said the tipping point happened on Tuesday before school in the campus parking lot.

“Pulling up to school yesterday and seeing an ambulance and fire truck and multiple police cars this day and age is very unsettling and made me feel very uncomfortable leaving my children there. So I was hoping from the school or responding officers some clarity or comfort in what was going on to know that my children are safe there and that is was is lacking,” said the mother.

CBS 8 is Working For You to help clear up information.

After we inquired with the Poway Unified School, The Westwood Elementary principal sent a message to parents clarifying what happened yesterday. 

Yesterday morning during drop-off, a parent’s car rolled forward and bumped another parent’s car in our parking lot while a child exited the front vehicle. The child was bumped by the door of the vehicle they were exiting and was startled and fell.  We did have emergency crews on the scene as a precaution. However, they deemed no medical attention was necessary, and the child’s parents, who had witnessed what had happened, agreed. 

Multiple staff members were present supervising morning arrivals but did not see what occurred. However, I do want to commend the staff for their quick action, alerting the office immediately and requesting 911 be called as a precaution. All available staff members jumped in to assist as well. 

Principal Jennie Mikels reminded drivers to be alert before and after school.

The San Diego Police Department responded:

Northeastern Division Officers have conducted extra patrol and enforcement in the area when time and staffing permits and will continue to do so in the near future. Additionally, SDPD RSVPs will be in the general area as they conduct their normal duties. 

On Wednesday, CBS 8 observed police presence and a traffic stop in front of the school.

The Rancho Bernardo Community Council president Robin Kaufman wrote:

“…We have requested a traffic study by the City of San Diego to potentially install Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RFFB) around the area….”

Council Member Marni von Wilpert's office said it's aware of police enforcement and says the transportation department is not required to not notify her office when there is a request for a traffic study so was unaware of the request. 

The mother hopes her voice drives home the need for safer streets around schools.

“There has to be something done to make sure the kids can get in and out of school safely,” said the mother.

At CBS 8, we want to help solve problems affecting you. If there's something you'd like us to look into, email us at workingforyou@cbs8.com

An earlier version of this story said that Council Member Marni von Wilpert was unaware of a traffic study. A spokesperson wanted to clarify to include that since the transportation department is not required to notify council member's office about traffic study requests they were unaware of it. 

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