Student pickup time at R.O. Hardin Elementary Nov. 3.
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The Hollister Police Department will increase patrols in efforts to reduce dangerous driving around school zones, according to an announcement from local police.

The locations will vary around the school sites within the City of Hollister.

“The pick-up and drop-off times at schools are a very busy times for parents, sometimes poor driving choices are made that can lead to a serious accident and serious injuries,” the police stated. “HPD has identified serious traffic issues related to the drop-off and pick-up of children around the schools.”

Drivers are speeding, making illegal U-turns, failing to yield to oncoming traffic, parking in undesignated and unsafe areas, among other violations, according to police.

The HPD announcement comes two months after the Hollister School District’s Board of Education discussed the growing traffic safety concerns with residents alerting them to the problem. The focus of that discussion centered around Gabilan Hills/Hollister Dual Language Academy, Calaveras/Accelerated Achievement Academy and R.O. Hardin/Hollister Prep School. According to the school district report, the schools “do not provide safe routes for pedestrians and adequate on-street parking.”

The School Resource Officers (SROs) and other HPD officers will be conducting saturation patrols at and around the schools, according to police.

The extra patrols will be partially funded through an existing Office of Traffic Safety grant. A motorcycle officer will also patrol the schools when available as part of a collateral duty.

“The Hollister Police Department would like to remind drivers to follow the rules of the road. This is especially important when dropping off and picking up children at school,” the announcement states. “We understand this can be a frustrating experience, but the safety of the children must remain everyone’s prime concern.”

According to HSD staff findings, the traffic congestion worsens at the end of the school day when parents arrive to pick up their children. Common reasons identified for this were: parents arriving 30 to 45 minutes before dismissal; vehicles blocking access to school parking lot and traffic on roadways adjacent to school sites; and parking illegally and violating traffic laws.

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