Pedestrian Safety Important To Ashby

OFFICER JOHN BANKS
The number of pedestrian versus vehicle accidents in Natomas increased significantly after John Banks retired from Sac PD last year.

But as of Feb. 15, Banks was back in his patrol car as the newest member of District One Councilmember Angelique Ashby’s team.

“I am thrilled to be able to bring Officer Banks out of retirement and back into our communities,” said Ashby, who juggled District One staffing funds to pay for the part-time, temporary position. “He is a tremendous asset and will absolutely help us improve traffic safety around our schools – helping to insure safe routes for our children and families.”

As a police officer, Banks’ specialty was traffic enforcement. He retired after working 31 years for the Sacramento Police Department, but continued to volunteer at the North Station inspecting car seats (he is the only officer citywide certified as car seat safety specialist).

As a traffic and school safety coordinator, Banks will work with the Natomas Unified School District administration and city traffic investigators to develop morning drop-off and school dismissal practices meant to improve student safety near schools. The plan is to look at the flow of traffic around schools and modify it as necessary.

“It’s a wonderful resource for the district and the North Natomas community,” school district Superintendent Bobbie Plough said.

The end of school busing in the Natomas Unified School District has led to a large influx of students walking, parents dropping kids off, and congestion around schools, said Sarah Novo, Director of Constituent Affairs for District One. In recent months, a student was hit by a vehicle while riding his bike to school and one student ran into a moving vehicle as she crossed the street to her school in Natomas.

“It’s all about keeping the kids safe,” Novo said.

Banks has already met with several Natomas Unified school principals as well as representatives from the North Natomas Transportation Management Association, a non-profit which works with schools to develop walking programs for health and environmental benefits.

“Councilmember Ashby is keeping public safety and quality of life a high priority in North Natomas. Her hiring back of Officer Banks further shows us that she’s serious about speeding traffic and traffic enforcement around our schools,” said Becky Heieck, NNTMA executive director. “We’re pleased to be working with Officer Banks in our walk & bike to school programs and events this spring.”