His home is on Verdugo Road, less than a block from Wilson Middle School, and was the gathering point Monday night for a mix of about 20 neighbors, parents and police and school officials to discuss what community members described as a history of traffic safety problems that has not been adequately addressed.
“That was such a possible tragedy,” said Stephanie Piazza, David Piazza’s wife. “And it really, really worried a lot of us.”
Residents have been concerned about traffic around Wilson for years, with a series of recent accidents deepening fears about what they say is a tragedy waiting to happen.
A 12-year-old girl was hit by a driver while walking in a crosswalk in front of the school in January, although she was not seriously hurt. Weeks later, another out-of-control driver came to a halt in the Piazzas’ front lawn.
City officials have echoed community concerns about traffic in areas around specific schools, like Glenwood Road, where Keppel Elementary School, Toll Middle School and Hoover High School are within a two-block stretch.
More than 4,000 students attend classes there every day, which frequently causes congestion and frustration from parents trying to rush to work, officials say.
A high concentration of students and cars during morning school drop-offs can create dangerous situations, officials said, including an incident Oct. 29 when a distracted driver struck and killed an 11-year-old girl who was walking in a crosswalk in front of Toll.
But the driver in that incident was moving less than 10 mph, officials said Monday, explaining that even the series of traffic measures in place around the school, including speed limits and a crosswalk with flashing lights, did not prevent the death.
“This is truly a community problem,” Glendale Police Lt. Carl Povilaitis said. “There is no one entity that’s going to find the magic bullet and fix it.”