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Superintendent's Message

Lafayette School District

“Our students are creative thinkers and problem-solvers and are prepared to become responsible, ethical and productive citizens.”


Dear Lafayette Families and Community Members,


The beginning of the new school year is always an amazing time, full of promise and potential. As I think about the instruction taking place in our classrooms, I am excited about the wonderful experiences that are yet to come for our students this year.


Despite our smooth beginning, the issue of traffic continues to rear its head throughout our community. Please know that I am currently involved in on-going conversations with Lafayette Police Chief, Eric Christensen, as well as a number of City officials, to discuss the roadwork that is occurring throughout Lafayette, especially as it pertains to student safety. The City of Lafayette and the Police Department have the primary responsibility for work taking place in all construction areas, so we continue to closely partner with them to find effective ways to deal with traffic issues.


Currently, the construction area at Olympic Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road poses some significant challenges for bicyclists and pedestrians. To that end, Chief Christensen has provided the following important communication to residents. In addition, the Police Department is in the process of providing our District with pamphlets about bicycle and pedestrian safety. As soon as we receive these, we will have all teachers review them with their students, and they will also be available at the District Office and on our website.


I am very grateful to each of you for your continued support. If you would like additional information and/or you have questions/concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Wishing you the very best as we begin the new school year.


Very respectfully,


Rachel Zinn, Superintendent



On Friday, 8/26/16, at 3p.m. LPD Officers were advised of a traffic accident involving a bicyclist and a vehicle at the intersection of Reliez Station Road and Olympic Boulevard. The caller identified that a middle-school-aged child had been struck by a vehicle while crossing the roadway. Officers responded to the area and found no signs of a collision, although a license plate for the vehicle had been provided by the initial caller. Officers were later able to contact the owner of the vehicle, the parents of the child who had been struck, and a number of witnesses who had been at the scene at the time of the collision. This was a low-speed collision and the bicycle rider was not seriously injured.


At this time, investigators believe the collision occurred as a vehicle was turning left from Olympic to climb Reliez Station Road. As the vehicle completed its turn, the vehicle struck the rear tire of the cyclist. The bicyclist was knocked to the ground. The bicyclist was in the crosswalk at the time of the collision. Following the collision, all parties stopped and exchanged information, with the cyclist leaving the scene under their own power. The motorist was shaken by the incident and drove home.


This incident has raised some concerns from parents and neighbors about the safety of the corridor between the Pleasant Hill / Olympic Boulevard construction site and this intersection. While this collision was not related to the construction project, it provides an excellent opportunity to review the conditions and safety zones within this area.


What is a safe route between Pleasant Hill Road (the construction site) and Reliez Station Road?

The Lafayette/Moraga Regional Trail is a three-foot wide paved path that runs between these two intersections. It is far away from the busy roadway. The trail has been used by cyclists and pedestrians to safely make their way between these two locations for years. The trail remains open and unblocked by the construction project. The path is accessed from the north-west corner of the intersection of Pleasant Hill Road and Olympic Boulevard. Some parents have reported that the gate to the trail has been closed - this is not true. The gate that many new users to the area are referring to is a fire access gate to the north of the intersection - that gate is not intended to allow access to the trail for pedestrians or cyclists. A safety corridor has been designated throughout the construction zone to allow both pedestrians and cyclists to access the trail.


Why isn't there a crossing guard at the construction site?

There is. As a part of the construction program, the contractor is required to have a flag person on the site during construction. The purpose of that individual is to ensure that pedestrians and cyclists can safely traverse the intersection. That individual has been at the work site escorting children and pedestrians across the street. With the changes to the construction site as it progresses, that safety flagger will remain in place until the project is completed.


Why isn't there a crossing guard at the intersection of Reliez Station Road and Olympic Boulevard?

This is a four-way stop intersection. Cars, bicyclists and pedestrians are all required to stop prior to entering the roadway. While the construction zone has changed some of the traffic patterns within the intersection, it has not changed the need for everyone to stop before they proceed. Bicyclists have this same requirement as they enter the intersection. It is important for parents to review the need for children to stop and dismount their bicycles - walking their bicycles across this type of intersection. Children should be reminded to always dismount when they cross a busy intersection. A signal light has been approved by the City Council for this intersection.


Is it lawful for a bicyclist to ride on the sidewalk in Lafayette?

Yes. The municipal code does not prohibit a bicycle rider from using the sidewalk in the City of Lafayette. In this construction zone, there is a sidewalk on the south side of Olympic Boulevard. During the construction project, children that use the south curb should be encouraged to ride their bicycles on the sidewalk in this area.


Why should my child walk their bicycle through the crosswalk rather than ride it through?

We all associate a crosswalk as a safe place to be. However, under the law, a bicyclist is a vehicle. When a pedestrian enters a crosswalk, they still have to yield to on-coming vehicles. However, once they are in the crosswalk the pedestrian is the king (or the queen) of the crosswalk. A bicycle rider does not have those same protections while they are mounted - because they are a vehicle. One of the most common accidents involving our school children is a bicyclist on the wrong side of the road in a crosswalk. The bike rider is essentially a car that is on the wrong side of the road - which means the bike rider will likely be found at fault for the collision.


Over the next few days, you will see an increased presence of police officers at these two intersections. The officers are there to make sure the kids and drivers are all following the rules and everything is safe. The officers will be checking for helmets, making sure those helmets are worn correctly, and giving out a few tips to make sure things are done safely.


Teach your child exactly what you learned as a child:


Before you cross the street


ALWAYS teach your children to make eye contact with drivers before they cross in front of or go around a vehicle.


E-Mail Alerts. If you are a resident of the City of Lafayette and are not currently receiving email alerts from the Lafayette Police Department, please contact Chief Christensen at Provide your name, street address and an email address. We want to make sure that all of our residents are aware of significant incidents and crime trends within our community.


Nixle Alerts. For significant incidents and disasters within the community, this is the primary system that will be used to provide our residents with information about incidents such as this one. Residents are urged to subscribe to the Nixle Alerting System used by the Lafayette Police Department. You can subscribe to Nixle Alerts by visiting the Nixle Website ( - a free service for our residents.



In addition, please review these important bicycle safety tips with your child.

10 Rules of the Road for Bicycle Riders

  1. Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
  2. Check the brakes and tires on your bike before every ride.
  3. Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  4. Ride in the same direction as traffic.
  5. Use hand signals to let others know when you are going to turn or stop.
  6. Keep both hands on the handlebars except when signaling.
  7. Carry books and other things in a backpack, in a basket, or a rack on your bicycle.
  8. Don’t give rides to friends, especially on the handlebars.
  9. Wear bright clothes so car drivers and others can see you.
  10. If you must ride at night, have a headlight on the front of your bike and a reflector on the back.

Superintendent's 2016-17 Messages