Echo Park school staff and parents get an education in traffic management

Photo by Lisa Baca-Sigala

The half hour before the morning bell rings at Clifford Street School often finds the narrow, steep street that runs past the Echo Park campus into a chaotic scene, with cars, vans and trucks packing the road and kids darting between idling vehicles. It’s a common sight at Clifford and other schools as parents drop off their kids.  But, the morning rush at Clifford today was relatively calm after the school began a Safety Valet Program.  Vehicles were herded into a drop off lane in front of the school as a group of staff and volunteers wearing yellow vests helped keep traffic and kids flowing, said Principal Armineh Alexan. “It was quite smooth this morning,” she said.

In addition to training the volunteers to work as valets, Alexan said parents are being advised to use the lane, which runs east and uphill on Duane Street, which is where students enter the campus, instead of dropping off their kids on the other side of the street, which  forces students  to cross the road when traffic is heavy.

Lisa Baca-Sigala, who was driving past the school this morning and snapped the above photo, said things were a big improvement on Duane, where cars and kids have come uncomfortably close.

Elysian Heights Elementary, located a few blocks east of Clifford, is also looking to start a similar program.

Alexan said she is looking for more volunteers to act as safety valets. She can be reached at  323-663-0474  or apapazia@lausd.net


  1. We all used to walk there. Got chased by loose dogs all the time. Maybe this is why so many children are overweight now.

  2. Elysian Heights Elementary has had a similar program in place for some time with school volunteers directing student drop-offs on Valentine Street. I’m glad that Clifford Street is now doing the same thing as it works very well here.

  3. I have a better solution. Close this street to all car traffic. Reconstruct the road so that it is only narrow enough for pedestrians or skinny people on bicycles. Scandinavian studies show that this makes traffic flow better. This will make parents walk their kids to school or ride them to school on tandem bicycles. Parents should not be driving cars! Ever!! No more cars!!!

  4. I went to Clifford in the ’70’s. After school, a student was killed riding his bike down Duane st fairly fast and hit a car that was coming up around the bend at the bottom of Duane.

    It was reckless of the student and no fault of the driver, though sad never the less.

  5. The only thing that is a bother is the parents on their CELL PHONES driving with all of the children around. I was walking the other morning and almost ran over by two different cars in crosswalks because they were on the phone after dropping their children off.

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