New raised crosswalk in front of school draws criticism from some students

September 14, 2010 — by Roy Bisht

“I almost died.”

No, this is not from a movie in the “Indiana Jones” trilogy, but the words of senior Soorya Rangan about the newly added speed bump in front of the school on Herriman Avenue.

Added during the recent summer, the speed bump acts as both a crosswalk for pedestrians and an obstacle for oncoming vehicles. Even though its intentions are for the safety of students and others, some students claim that the bump is actually a danger to drivers.

Rangan, who experienced the effects of the speed bump during the first week of the school year, is not a supporter of the new construction. Going at an accelerated pace, he made solid contact with the speed bump and lost control of his car, swerving into the bike lane.

“As one of the first to experience the speed bump, I believe that it is very hazardous,” Rangan said.

The speed bump, in fact, was not a work by the high school. The city of Saratoga decided to place the speed bump in front of the school to make it a safer place for both vehicles and pedestrians, said principal Jeff Anderson.

But this explanation was of little comfort to Rangan, who complained about the lack of information and street signs warning students about the raised crosswalk. Unlike most speed bumps, which have signs warning drives to prepare themselves to slow down, the one on Herriman leaves students no time to prepare, he said.

“I was driving at my normal cruising speed, and then, ‘BAM!’ I hit the speed bump and nearly lost control of my car,” said Rangan. “It’s almost hidden, so I really think that there should be a sign there that warns drivers of it.”

Junior Austin Firth also has driven over the speed bump, and, much like Rangan, he had a close call.

“I consider myself an exceptional driver, and I almost crashed my car on that speed bump,” said Firth. “I just feel as though the lack of information that the speed bump is coming is a huge disadvantage for a driver.”

Even though there is a sign warning oncoming vehicles about the crosswalk that lays on top of the speed bump, Firth believes that the danger is due to the lack of a sign warning students to slow down. It is also partly due to the difficulty in spotting the speed bump.

“It’s a lot hardier to spot than a normal speed bump because the white crosswalk lines somewhat diguise it. Plus, it’s not as elevated as a normal speed bump would be, so, as a driver, it’s challenging to know to slow down,” said Firth.

Some students may not like the speed bump, but Anderson believes it was a smart choice by the city.

“Kids fly out of [the parking lot] here, they just go too fast and are not the most mindful for pedestrians,” said Anderson. “[The city] put it there to slow students down for a good reason.”