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Traffic and Parking

Keeping Kids Safe- from the city of Santa Clara

How to Drive In and Around School Zones

Post Date: 08/26/2016 9:00 AMimage of caution-children sign

As back-to-school season is in full effect, remember to safely share the roads with school buses, pedestrians and bicyclists.  

  • Expect increased traffic in and around school zones;
  • Reduce your speed to a maximum of 25mph;
  • Yield to bicyclists and pedestrians;
  • Always follow the directions of the crossing guard;
  • Do not make U-turns across double yellow lines, it is illegal;
  • Be prepared for the unexpected –children can be unpredictable (e.g. darting out into the street) or may ignore potential hazards (e.g. bicyclists looking for car doors opening from parked cars);
  • Yield right of way to buses at all times and make sure to stop when their lights/stop sign are deployed;
  • Be respectful of student safety patrol and parent volunteers helping to monitor school safety; and,
  • Do not park in red zones, handicap areas or block a crosswalk – even if just for a minute. 

If you have a specific concern, it can be reported to the Santa Clara Police Department online.

Here is a list of commonly violated traffic laws near Laurelwood Elementary School:

image of police officer holding up a traffic ticket

21212(a) CVC Helmet requirements:  A person under 18 years old shall not operate a bicycle, skateboard,  Razor scooter, in line roller skates, etc. unless that person is wearing a properly fitting and secured bicycle helmet.

21202(a) CVC Bicycle operation:  A bicycle must be ridden in the same direction as traffic and as close to the right hand edge of the roadway as possible.

21460(a)CVC Double yellow lines:  Drivers crossing over a double yellow line to pass a vehicle.

22103 CVC U turn in residential district:  No person in a residential district shall make a U turn when any other vehicle is approaching from either direction within 200 feet, except at an intersection controlled by an official traffic control device.

21950(a) CVCCrosswalks:  Not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks along Teal Drive. 

27315 Mandatory Seatbelt: (d)(1):  A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway unless that person and all passengers 16 years of age or over are properly restrained by a safety belt. (note: seatbelt positioned under the armpit or behind the back is NOT properly worn and in violation of this law.)

(e): A person 16 years of age or over may not be a passenger in a motor vehicle unless that person is properly restrained by a safety belt. 

27360(a) Child Passenger Seatbelt:  A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway unless passengers under the age of 16 are properly secured by use of a safety belt and/or safety restraint system (carseat). A carseat must be used if the child is either 6 years or younger or 60 pounds or less.

Please familiarize yourself with these laws and talk with your children to ensure they are aware and remain safe while walking/biking near the schools.


Laurelwood School was designed for an attendance area less than half its present size at a time when mostimage of safety vest and hand-held STOP sign icon students walked to school. The now large attendance area and parent concerns for safety have prompted an explosion in the number of students coming to school by car. The streets around the school were not designed for the level of traffic we experience on school day mornings and afternoons. We have worked with both the Santa Clara and Sunnyvale Police Departments to come up with plans to ensure student safety and to facilitate the flow of traffic. Your knowledge and cooperation is essential. Many of our rules are based on traffic laws; violations have resulted in police department citations. Please follow the directions of staff and parent volunteers.

General Practices (which apply to all city streets):

  • All passengers in the car must wear seat belts; every child in the car must be harnessed in approved harness systems. Violators will be cited.
  • The speed limit around the school is 25 miles per hour or less, depending on what is a safe speed. Violators will be cited.
  • Cars may not cross the double yellow lines to pass other cars. Violators will be cited.
  • Cars must stop at the yellow line that is a few feet in front of the crosswalk. Violators will be cited.
  • Cars may not cross the yellow line if any person has even a toe in the crosswalk; cars may not proceed until the safety patrol students are on the sidewalk. Violators will be cited.

Morning Arrival Procedures:

  • Students may not be dropped off before 7:55. Parents may wait in the parking lot in the Drop-off Lane or in front of the school until 7:55, but must stay in and with their cars. Please do not use parking spaces marked "staff" to wait.
  • If you need to leave your car, you must park your car in a legal parking place; legal spaces do not include those marked for "staff", the space at the end of the row of parked cars, or the space by the dumpster.  Be sure not to park in any red zones or in our neighbors' driveways for drop off.  When parking in front of our neighbors' houses, please be sure that you do not obstruct any driveways in any matter, for any length of time.
  • The parking lot is closed to student drop off and pick up and will be chained closed from 7:55-8:15. Students need to dropped off at the curb after 7:55.
  • Drop-off areas include the front of the school (with the Morning Greeters and Safety Patrol) and the gate on Kensington Drive at the far end of the playground; the Kensington gate has a teacher on duty after 8:00 a.m.

Using the Morning Greeters:

  • Approach the school from Inverness on Teal heading north toward Dunford. Follow the directions of the Morning Greeters.
  • Pull up as far as you can to the cone before the crosswalk line.
  • Drop off your children only when you are stopped and at the curb.
  • Do not drop children off when in the traffic lane and/or double-parked or while you are waiting to move forward to the front of the school on Teal.
  • Have your children ready to unbuckle their seat restraints and leave the car immediately when the door opens.
  • Pull out behind the car in front of you; do not cut out ahead of the car in front of you.
  • Watch the crosswalk for pedestrians and the Safety Patrol when leaving.

After-School Guidelines:

  • For the safety of all, the parking lot closed for student pick up and drop off an will be chained at the end of each school day.
  • Use the Drop-Off/pick up lane at the curb in front of the school. Stay in your car; your children will find you at the curb.  As this is a no-parking zone, if your student is not immediately present to get in your car, you need to pull away from the curb and drive around the block until they are present and ready to get in to your car.
  • Pull your vehicle as far forward as possible and continue to pull forward as cars move forward. This relieves back-up traffic in the street and allows more children access to their rides.
  • If you need to walk in, park in a legal space and walk in. Legal spaces are not those marked for staff, the space at the end of the row, or the space by the dumpster. Use sidewalks when possible; avoid walking through the parking lot.
  • Do NOT double-park or to stop in the middle of the parking lot or street to wait for your child. Wait in line with your car in the pick up lane or park legally along the street. Be sure not to park in any red zones or in or in front of our neighbors' driveways.  When parking in front of our neighbors' houses, please be sure that you do not obstruct any driveways in any matter, for any length of time.
  • Remind your child to wait until you reach the curb; students may not walk through the parking lot unless accompanied by an adult and may only go through it at the painted crosswalk.
  • Keep the sidewalks clear when entering and exiting. Watch for children.
  • Report all vehicle bumps and scratches (or more) to the office immediately.

Thank you for helping making our streets and sidewalks safer for our children.

Keeping Safe Around Laurelwood

There are things we can do as parents and guardians to make drop off and pick up go as smoothly and as accident-free as possible. Please keep the following simple rules of the road in mind on those mornings and afternoons where we are without assistance from the SVDPS:image of 25mph caution sign

  • The speed limit in a school zone is 25 miles per hour. Please do not speed dangerously through intersections or around corners in an effort to get your child to school before the bell rings.
  • Come to a complete stop at the intersection. Rolling through stop signs can cause you to hit a pedestrian in the crosswalk who expected your vehicle to stop.
  • Pursuant to the California Vehicle Code, a pedestrian is classified as anyone on foot or using a "human powered device," such as a skateboard, wheelchair or scooter. Under California law, drivers are required to yield to pedestrians, whether they are crossing in a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
  • While bicyclists are not technically pedestrians under the law, you must still exercise caution when encountering children on bicycles near school grounds. The law requires you to leave at least 3 feet of passing distance between your vehicle and a bicyclist.
  • Please do not block the intersection at Lochnivar and Teal. If you cannot complete your cross of the intersection without preventing cross-traffic from flowing unobstructed, please wait until the traffic subsides in front of you and proceed when you can completely exit the intersection.
  • Please do not obstruct any of the four crosswalks that border the intersection at Lochinvar and Teal. Again, if you cannot complete your cross of the intersection without obstructing the crosswalk, please wait until the traffic subsides in front of you and proceed when you can completely exit the intersection. 
  • When stopped at the intersection, yield first to pedestrians and exercise caution around bicyclists. Then proceed to drive through the intersection yielding to the driver who arrived at the intersection first or to the driver on your right if you arrived at the same time. 
  • Consider an earlier arrival to school - if some families arrange for drop off to occur at 7:55am that would help alleviate some of the congestion and would allow traffic to move more smoothly.
  • Finally, as we are a school of over 700 students, drop off and pick up are crowded times of day. Please pay attention to the road and do not engage in distracted driving. 

This is a lot to remember but if we all work together in the best interests of our school community we can make drop off and pick up a little less frustrating for us and much safer for our kids.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in learning more about becoming a crossing guard with the City of Santa Clara, please visit

On behalf of Dr. Rogers, Mr. Fuller and the entire Laurelwood PTA, thank you for all you do to make our neighborhoods and our school community safe places for our families.