Mint Canyon Community School celebrates installation of traffic signal

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger explains to students the importance of the new traffic signal on Education Highway and Sierra Highway in front of Mint Canyon Elementary during an assembly to mark the installation of the signal on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Katharine Lotze/Signal

A new stoplight is working to improve pedestrian and vehicle safety along a stretch of Sierra Highway in front of Mint Canyon Community School.

The installation of the Canyon Country traffic signal near San Canyon Road at the “Education Highway” cross street was a collaborative effort by the Sulphur Springs Union School District (SSUSD) Board of Trustees, Mint Canyon Community School and Los Angeles County.

Representatives officially unveiled the traffic signal at a ribbon cutting ceremony at Mint Canyon Wednesday.

The Mint Canyon Spirit Squad holds up the ribbon that school principal Roni Andrus, center, and Supervisor Kathryn Barger, right, cut for the new traffic signal that will allow students safely cross Education Highway, off of Sierra Highway, in Canyon Country on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Katharine Lotze/Signal

“LA County is attempting to decrease accidents on our streets,” said Mark Pestrella, acting director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.  “The way we’re doing that is by adding lights like this and by teaching people how to cross their streets and use their skateboards and bikes.”

Shelley Weinstein, president of the SSUSD Board of Trustees, said parents, teachers and staff of Mint Canyon and members of the board worked for nearly a decade to get the stoplight approved and constructed.

“We know how important it is to keep our children safe,” Weinstein said.  “The traffic light is something we can be really proud of.”

The traffic signal will help protect the 450 students in kindergarten to sixth grade who move along the Sierra Highway 180 days per year as they travel to and from school.

“I can’t picture that intersection without a signal,” said Kathryn Barger, Los Angeles County’s Fifth District Supervisor.  “The safety is vital and Sierra Highway has a lot of cars traveling quickly down it.”

The stretch of highway is a dangerous one.  At the end of December, two pedestrians were struck in a 24 hour period and, in 2016 alone, the Signal reported on a total of eight pedestrian-related traffic collisions on Sierra Highway.

Barger and Pestrella both emphasized the importance of pedestrian-safety to Mint Canyon students during the ribbon cutting ceremony, encouraging them to never jaywalk and to always look both ways before crossing the street.

“We don’t ever want to cross Sierra Highway… and never jaywalk or walk across the street without a crosswalk,” Pestrella said.

The countdown feature of the traffic signal will give students and parents 22 seconds to safely move across Sierra Highway.

“Everyone is really excited about the safety impact,” Weinstein said.  “We are very appreciative to the county for seeing the issue and working with us.”

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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