Jul 29, 2014

Archer Girls Campaign to Slow Drivers on Sunset

Students from the Archer School for Girls have been spreading awareness on the dangers of Sunset Boulevard traffic and are asking drivers to slow down. The effort is inspired by the traffic death of 13-year-old Julia Siegler.

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It's been two years since 13-year-old Harvard-Westlake student Julia Siegler was struck down in Brentwood traffic while trying to catch a bus to school, but her memory continues on in the efforts of Archer School students who've been busy reminding the community to "Slow Down for Julia."

"The effort () has undertaken is a noble one," wrote Jody Siegler, Julia's mom, in an email to Patch. "It is already poised to generate follow-on activity at neighboring schools, all of which provides a small measure of satisfaction at this particular time."

Siegler started the campaign after losing her daughter and has since been an inspiration for a theme that has stuck with Archer School since that tragic day—that drivers really need to slow down on Sunset Boulevard.

"There are a lot of schools and buses in Brentwood. Kids walk across the street all the time," said Emily Wishingrad, a senior at Archer School. "It's a really busy street. Sunset is crazy."

For Zoe Mooser, also an Archer senior, supporting this campaign was really necessary.

Mooser, Wishingrad and others put together hundreds of information packets that included traffic safety information, purple wristbands with the campaign slogan on them and car window decals. All of the materials had to be hand-folded and painstakingly bound together.

The school adopted purple as its color for the awareness campaign, which was initially meant to be held each February.

"There has been so much interest and our girls are branching out to a bunch of other organizations to get the word out," wrote Judey Petix, Archer Director of Community Service, in an email to Patch. "So, Archer is extending this campaign past February. ... It will be called 'Archer's Spring Safety Campaign.'"

At the Feb. 7 Brentwood Community Council meeting, Mooser and Wishingrad gave a presentation on traffic safety to the council members and attendees. They also gave out the information packets they had assembled.

"Brentwood is a really crazy place to drive," Mooser told Patch. "I can speak from experience in learning to drive in all of L.A. It's a stressful place because there are crazy drivers, cars go fast and you have to be more aware than you would in a small town because of the crazy amount of traffic and drivers."

The day that Julia died, Mooser remembers that there was a gathering in the school courtyard. While she didn't personally know the girl whose memory she's been campaigning for, Mooser still feels like the fight is a personal one.

"A tragedy like that when it happens—it really doesn't matter if you know her or not because someone who's that close to your community, it really affects you no matter what," said Mooser. "And you think about her parents—her mom is ... doing a lot for traffic safety and she needs support."

Correction: This article incorrectly stated that Julia Siegler was an Archer School student. She was, in fact, attending Harvard-Westlake School at the time of her death.

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