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Traffic seems worse outside schools

Original post made by Palo Verde Parent, Palo Verde School, on Aug 29, 2008

Traffic behavior is worse outside schools this year from what I have seen. Even though we have a cop on a bike outside our school for the past three days, I have seen bad driving. From not stopping for stopping guards, Uturns outside schools, bad parking blocking residents driveways for 30 minutes after school starts and to general not paying attention to pedestrians - many of which are kids, I have seen numerous bad practices. The attention of those on bikes and scooters are bad also. Sidewalks are primarily for pedestrians and those have not been safe.

I don't know if we have all got into bad habits because we are out of school routine, it is because more kids are not in neighborhood schools and have to be driven to school, or because kindergarten parents and new families don't understand the school rush, but it seems much worse this year than in the past.

Please everyone, be much more careful around schools. The problem motorists must be parents at the school and it would be a bad start to the school year if there was a bad accident and two families from the same school were the ones involved.

Please drive safely near our schools.

Comments (41)

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2008 at 9:57 am

I don't know any of the schools with really adequate passenger discharge and pickup arrangements. A pity Palo Alto lacks a Traffic Engineer.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 29, 2008 at 11:06 am

To drivers entering East Charleston Road from Fabian/Louis Road, crossing Middlefield Road and entering the school zone in the right hand lane - if a driver slows to turn right into the Challenger School driveway you must wait to continue, not force the driver in the left hand lane into incoming traffic because you want to merge.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Its probably about time that there was a no left turn sign into Challenger school as there is at Hoover School. Challenger parents should be able to find a route to school that gives them a right turn into the school.

Likewise, there should be a right turn only sign coming out of the school as at Hoover.

This school in particular causes traffic problems.


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Posted by PA parent
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Aug 29, 2008 at 5:42 pm

A cop on a bike is not as visible as a squad car. I am more aware of my driving when I see a police car. Have some ticketing going on every now and then and it will remind people to drive more safely.


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Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Aug 29, 2008 at 6:58 pm

This cop on a bike was very visible, he was in the middle of the drop off zone and used a mike to make comments to cars about to do something wrong. Even the neighbors half a block down the street could see him and was pleased he was there. Very visible. Thank you PAPD.


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Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Sep 2, 2008 at 8:44 am

No cops today and once again drivers were behaving badly. At least one car made an illegal U turn and one parent parked on the no parking side of the street and ran across the street with her child not on the cross walk which was several feet away.

Please drive safely near our schools and teach your kids (and ours) safe traffic skills.


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Posted by laura
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2008 at 11:08 am

A few years ago a parent drove up on the sidewalk at Ohlone to drop her child off!! After that the wonderful principal there stood outside every mnorning and afternoon directing traffic. I guess that's what it takes to avoid a tragedy or a strong police presence.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 2, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Laura,

That's the kind of story that gives me nightmares. There are just so many cars and so little road frontage at Ohlone.

Sounds like it gave Susan Charles nightmares too--if she was the principal then.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2008 at 5:13 pm

The problem is NOT, as Walter said, a lack of traffic engineers. The City has 2 and the School District has one they hire as a consultant. They are not magicians, though, and can't make 100 cars fit into space designed for 5 (and they can't make parents behave). The real problem is too many cars. Most school sites were designed many decades ago when enrollment was lower and most people walked or biked to school (60%+ in the 1970s). Now the vast majority of parents insist on driving cars to school and choking the school sites. If you don't like what you see on the streets, complain to the School Board and Superintendent. They are the ones with power to set policies to deal with this for public schools. Then join your local PTA and work with your principal on ways to encourage safe behavior in school zones.


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Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Sep 2, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Richard

The problem is of course the size and design of the school, but at the majority of elementary schools anyway, it is not the majority of parents dropping off kids as a huge number do come by bicycle or walk. No, the problem is that the parents who drive feel that they are entitled to go against the rules.

If parents must drive their kids to school (something which each family must decide for itself although for most reasons, they can be argued against with just as good alternatives) then please drive and park away from school and walk the last block or so. This will give you and your child time to interact with other school families and get the feel of what it is like to be a pedestrian arriving at school. With schools over 350 kids, we cannot have 350 cars arriving at school withing 10 minutes of each other so all of us must do our part to help. Thinking ahead and getting each family working on their own commute to school is much better than plaguing the school board for solutions that won't happen.


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Posted by LWH
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 2, 2008 at 9:12 pm

I particularly love the mom who slowly follows, IN HER CAR, her kid riding his bike to school! All the way shouting encouragement and instructions to the kid, from her car window. There are no words.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Palo Verde Parent, if there are a few badly behaving parents, then work with your PTA and principal to identify them, educate them and give them incentives to behave better.

As for the decision to drive or not, that is strongly influenced by attendance area boundaries and school assignments, and the school board sets policies for those. If more people are assigned to schools outside of their neighborhoods or on the other side of major streets they will be more likely to drive. If they can reach a neighborhood school without crossing Oregon or El Camino they will be more likely to walk or bike.


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Posted by Hoover Parent
a resident of Hoover School
on Sep 3, 2008 at 6:21 am

I'm a parent from Hoover and can tell many stories of unbelievably rude parent drivers. Granted the schools don't have the space to handle a crush of cars within the same 10 minute window but the truly dangerous stuff stems from parents deciding that *their* time is too precious to waste on following the rules or that *their* Johnnie or Julie can't be late (despite the fact that they leave the house late every day.

It seems, though, that behavior improves when the principal or a police officer is watching. That shows you the parents know the rules but choose to ignore them when they believe they can get away with it.

So for all these parents breaking the rules when no one is looking - if your child steals $10 from the teacher's desk when he/she is not looking will you say "good job, way to go" "chip off the old block"?

These selfish parents are not going to walk to school or come 5 minutes earlier because it is not convenient to them and, of course, this is "ALL ABOUT ME".

For the rest of the parents I can tell you that arriving at 7:45 makes a world of difference. Better yet, park on Carlson (don't block driveways and don't park on the sidewalk - amazing you need to say this) and walk a few hundred yards with your children. This isn't Houston or Minneapolis - the weather's almost always perfect. There is no reason except for sheer laziness, not to get out of your car a few blocks from the school.

One final shot - if these parents are behaving this badly among their own community, imagine what they are capable of in *your* neighborhood.


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Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Sep 3, 2008 at 9:08 am

Richard

I do agree with what you are saying. These parents who are behaving badly will slowly learn the rules and by winter break things will be running smooothly. The staff and pta do their best, but it is a difficult thing to do at the beginning of the school year when so much new information is being bombarded to the new parents at the school. Perhaps reading some of the comments here will help them to see things from a different perspective.

Palo Verde does not have many kids from outside our boundaries. In fact we are one of the areas which is overflowing kids to other schools in the district. If it is bad outside our school which has mainly neighborhood kids, most of which live within a couple of miles radius of the school, then what can it be like outside the schools that are receiving the overflows and the choice schools?

No, parents must behave better. It is just as Hoover Parent mentions above, there is no family that has a better reason for treating their situation as more needful than any of the others.

Overcrowding is a big problem, but the solutions are not short term answers to bad driving behavior. Overcrowding will get worse as the schools take in more kids from more new residents and kids are overflowed more as class size restrictions take away the few extra kids from each school site into less crowded schools. Good manners and driving habits are the only short term solution and should happen regardless of the size of the school or the length of commute a family has to get to their school.


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Posted by Lynn Drake
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 4, 2008 at 8:48 am

To Palo Verde Parent-

Thank you for your concern for traffic around Palo Verde Elementary. Between the principal, the teacher, the traffic safety reps, the police, and all the wonderful bicycle and pedestrian safety programs we have, we are making terrific progress having more children safely bike and walk to school.

Wednesday October 8th is Palo Verde's "Walk and Roll" to school day. This is the day where we encourage everyone to get to school via bike, scooter, carpool, walking, or bus. As Palo Verde's Traffic Safety Representative, I need help. Can you help? Please contact me (Lynn) or our principal Lupe Garcia to volunteer. It's not hard at all and it involves greeting smiling children and families that are thrilled to get stickers and recognition for "walking and rolling" to school. This really helps send the message and we see a significant increase in bicycles in the racks in the few weeks that follow.




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Posted by Mike
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 4, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Duveneck doesn't allow students on campus before 7:50am, and class starts at 8:05am. This 15 minute window is too short.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 4, 2008 at 2:46 pm

I suspect Duveneck does not allow unsupervised children before 7:50 (or after school). I'm sure you could walk your child to school earlier and remain with them until the staff takes responsibility at 7:50. Teachers need time to set up in the morning!


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 4, 2008 at 5:25 pm

It's definitely been a pain this week at Ohlone. I think it's partly the heat. We're a long walk from the school and when I did it the other day, I ended up with a headache. I assume other people aren't walking as much for the same kind of reason.

I hope it gets better when it cools down a bit.

But really, it comes down to most of the schools not being designed for commuting. Ohlone's single entry on a narrow street.


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Posted by Parent without handles
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2008 at 6:39 pm

OP

You often mention that Ohlone is single entry on a narrow street. But, please correct me if I am wrong, but cars could park on both Greer and Louis and then walk to Ohlone to ease the congestion and also there is a back entrance on Colorado where once again cars could park and kids could walk in through the farm.

The problem does not have to be all the cars on Amarillo, as if cars parked a block or so away and everyone walked, then the problem would to some extent be lightened.


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Parent without handles is exactly right. There are multiple entrances to most schools, and parking a block or two away really eases the problems (as long as you don't park in a bike lane). There cannot be an official policy to park in a particular off-site block or the people who live there will have a fit, but it can be encouraged unofficially.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 4, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Parent w/o handles.

Yes, you can park on Greer and walk around--there's no enrance from the sides--the school's in the middle of a large block.

Louis has bike lanes, so there isn't parking on it near the school on either side of the street. So people park on Amarillo and Greer. Because Amarillo is narrow, there's a lot of congestion as parked cars pull in and out.

There is a back entrance, but it's a bit trickier, since it involves going through the Friends parking lot. Parking there is verboten and it's actually a bit of a walk to many of the classrooms. It tends to be used by walkers and bikers, not drivers for that reason.


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Posted by El Carmelo parent
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 5, 2008 at 1:21 am

I wonder at Laura's surprise to see a car on the sidewalk. That is the norm around our neighborhood, where cars are often driven on the wrong side of the street to park way up and blocking the sidewalk. Between that and the trash cans, the only way to get to school three blocks away is to take the car. To walk, we would have to be in the middle of the street.


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Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Sep 5, 2008 at 9:14 am

El Carmelo

If things are as bad as EC Parent suggests, then the PAPD should be told about the parking problems.

I agree that trash cans are a big problem. We have a Tuesday trash pickup and things are bad that day because PASCO leaves the cans blocking paths (even blocking the pedestrian entrance to our school) but imo there should be no cans on sidewalks apart from the morning of the trash pickup. If people are leaving their cans out for more than 24 hours before or after their pickup time and blocking sidewalks, does anyone know of any way we can do anything about this?


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Posted by Terman Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 5, 2008 at 12:00 pm

A lot of the residents in our neighborhood, especially along the main routes to Terman, have forgotten (or never learned) that the Vehicle Code (Sec 22500) prohibits stopping, standing, or parking:

(e) In front of a public or private driveway
(f) On any portion of a sidewalk, or with the body of the vehicle extending over any portion of a sidewalk


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Posted by Amazed
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 5, 2008 at 9:09 pm

I bring my daughter and son to private school every day, and we have no parking problems at all. The school has a designed drop off area and sufficient parking for those parents who need to escort their kids to the classroom. Our school has also staggered the class starting times so all parents don't show up at the same time.

I am amazed and appalled at the mess I see in front of all Palo Alto schools. The school district eliminates school buses, FORCES hundreds of parents to drive their kids to school at the same time to schools without designed drop off areas or sufficient parking spaces and the parents and residents near these schools eat that manure instead of lynching the school administration. Since when has it become acceptable to demand that parents spend up to 30 minutes in line, in a traffic jam just to get their kids to school. Not to mention the huge traffic jams this creates for motorists that have nothing to do with the school and just want to use the road in accordance with traffic laws. Shame on the schools and shame on all of you that accept this nonsense daily. "The parents need to follow the rules". Enough with that nonsense. The schools need to get their act together and parents need to summon a little intestinal fortitude and demand a better system.


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Posted by Parents
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Amazed

What rules should parents not follow?

I presume that you do not mean the rules of the road for driving and parking. They are by no means nonsense. No one is advocating waiting in line for 30 minutes, just being more considerate to everyone else, road users and neighbors.


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Posted by Amazed
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 5, 2008 at 9:56 pm

Parents,

Give me a break. I made the mistake of driving by a public school a pick up time today and I spent 10 minutes on the road stuck behind school parents attempting to make a left turn against traffic into the school driveway which had a good 30 cars blocking the way. Now if I have to spend 10 minutes just trying to drive by, don't tell me those parents that were attempting to get into the school didn't have another 20 minutes of misery trying to get in out of the school. Needless to say, they were quite a few fellow drivers that were also just attempting to use the road (clogged with school parents futilely trying to pick up their kids) behind me and they lost patience with this absolute chaos, no supervision, helter skelter manure and just drove over sidewalks and road shoulders to get out this ridiculous jam. Its unacceptable, unprofessional and I am AMAZED that school parents accept this type of treatment from their school. Parents get your acts together and force the school to get its act together. Get a volunteer, a staffer, a teacher (horrors what the union would say) out on the road to direct traffic and get a plan, get a clue. I'm more disappointed in the gutless parents than the inept school leadership. I don't expect much from the school, but the I expect the parents to demand a lot.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2008 at 7:51 am

Amazed, private schools have much more control over their parents than public schools. It is a violation of PTA rules (for liability reasons) for a volunteer to direct traffic on a school site, and only police officers or those authorized by the police can direct traffic on public streets. Principals and teachers sometimes try to control traffic in dropoff zones, but they take a lot of abuse from parents who don't want to obey them. Many quit doing it after a couple of weeks because it is too stressful and they have other responsibilities. A private school can kick out children whose parents act like that, but a public school can't. If you think it is that easy, would you be willing to try the job of controlling traffic?


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Posted by Katja
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 6, 2008 at 10:03 am

As a parent whose child has been hit by a car in a school zone I urge everybody to pay attention. The kids are not very good as fending for themselves yet, and half of them are half asleep still during the morning rush. It's tons of metal vs. flesh, people! Believe me, the injuries and legal, academic and psychological ramifications of an accident is not something you want to contend with.


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Posted by Amazed
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 6, 2008 at 10:20 am

Richard, you have met the enemy and he is you. You are the PTA. You are the public school. Since when did PUBLIC schools start belonging to the principals and teachers (who find it too stressful to direct traffic)instead of the parents and students?

Don't accept second class treatment from incompetent administrators and leaders who fail to lead. Don't let the school waste hours of your precious time every week due to poor planning and inadequate supervision. Don't eat the manure they put out to feed you every day. What kind of school doesn't permit students on campus before 7:50 and starts promptly at 8:05, funneling hundreds of parents into a screwed up entrance during a 15 minute window. Its as if they are designing a process to maximize the pain and suffering they can inflict on parents.

We all get a vote on who sits on the school board. We can speak up and let the school leadership know they need to get this fixed. Stop blaming the parents for exhibiting road rage when the system concocted by the school administration is designed to elicit frustration and anger.

This problem is easily solvable, and I don't mean by making fatuous statements like walk to school or car pool or accepting stupid PTA rules. I like what I am seeing in Menlo Park, where the district bought a couple of buses and charges a nominal fee to use these buses to cut down on traffic. Menlo Park is constructing better designed drop off areas and parking areas in their schools.

You can do a lot to fix this problem other than whining it is a hard job directing traffic. No it isn't too hard. For me it is easy, I can simply avoid being in that area when school is starting or ending, acknowledging the incompetence of the school and its kow towing parents. For the parents, get a backbone and stop accepting this treatment and demand the schools solve the problem they created, instead of making excuses on why they CAN"T solve the problem. I thought most of you believe in change. "Yes we can" sounds like a empty mantra in the Palo Alto School district.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Amazed, all I can say is you are very poorly informed. If you knew me and what I have been doing for the last 10 years you would not blame traffic problems on me! Clearly you also have no inside understanding of what goes on in Palo Alto schools and PTAs. Of course it seems obvious and easy from the outside, until you actually try to do something about it. By the way, did you know that Palo Alto actually does have school buses?


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Posted by Parents
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Amazed

You have stated yourself. Parents dropping and picking up kids are not obeying standard driving laws. These are not pta rules, or school rules, they are driving rules. It means obeying posted signs and doing all the things good drivers do to pass driving tests and not getting driving tickets.

The point is, that when parents are in a hurry to drive their kids the half mile to school, they flagrantly disobey driving rules, not school rules. They block driveways, they do illegal Uturns or left turns.

What we need is to get people to stop driving their kids half a mile to school and get them to walk or use their bikes. It means that families must leave home in good time and learn how long it takes to walk to school, or at least drive to a point a couple of blocks away and walk. It means that parents must give their kids time in the morning before school and not be in such a hurry that dropping them off on the way to work is a morning family time not a chore.

You may have your kids at a private school and pay for supervision for an hour or so before or after school. At public school, the teachers can supervise only for 15 minutes or so before school starts and not after school apart from kids club. This means that the kids can get their earlier, but they have to be supervised by their own parents until the teachers supervision starts and the same after school. It means that for most schools, there is a 15 minute window before and after school when the majority of the kids arrive and if they arrive by foot or wheel then they do not need the aggrevation of parents driving badly to get their kids to school.

You must attend a very idealised school where parking doesn't cause problems. But, I happen to know one private school in the area where the kids are arriving at 7.00 am and stay well passed 6.00 and cause other traffic problems for the after school sports scene. I also feel for these kids who spend the majority of their day away from their own homes and both their parents because the parents are so busy in their own lives that they can't spend time with their own kids during the time of the day when the kids are awake. If your school is one of these types of places, I am really glad that mine have a home to come home to after school and parents that want to spend time with them.

Hopefully, you are not one of these parents either, but since this is about traffic issues then we should not get onto another tangent. But public schools are run for the kids benefit not the parents' and getting the kids to and from school is done well by the majority and it is just a few that are making life difficult by ignoring good driving habits.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 6, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Every now and then, Ohlone puts together a Walking School Bus, where kids meet up at designated places and then walk in groups with a couple of parents. Even at Ohlone, it's just a one-week thing.

But it would be nice to see this as sort of a norm throughout the district. Maybe even something where different parents picked up different legs of the journey. It can be a time-consuming roundtrip for people who live at a distance, but if it were done in parental stages . . .


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Amazed is right: the solution is simple and obvious, just not palatable. The problem is not limited to Palo Alto and Menlo Park, either. Cities all across the country are suffering from massive traffic congestion near school zones. Cupertino has problems that are much worse than Palo Alto's. I guess nobody in the country has the guts to tell the school board to stop spending their precious money on classrooms and teachers and start spending it on driveways and parking lots. If schools were built for the convenience of drivers in cars instead of for serving students we wouldn't be having these problems.


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Posted by amazed
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 6, 2008 at 9:40 pm

I remain amazed at how many of the parents responding on this site continue to defend incompetence, poor leadership and a cowardly parental base. Most of you need to get out more. No, the rest of the country does not have a screwed up traffic problem around their schools. I've been working around the country for several years, and they use buses, police direct traffic and schools have constructed modern drop off and pick up sites that are as efficient and nice as public transit hubs. Donald, they don't do it just for the parents, but for the safety of students as well as drivers that are using the streets near schools. You have heard of safety first?

I have lived for a while in the East Bay as well and no they do not have the type of traffic messes we see in Menlo Park and Palo Alto around their schools. To give Menlo Park credit, they are starting to address the problem and show leadership, after parental pressure and too many close calls that almost killed children. The only people lacking guts appear to be Palo Alto public school parents.

As for allowing the teachers union to walk all over our students and use that as a defense for only allowing students on campus 15 minutes before and after class, that is also appears to only be a regional problem. Many many public schools to include those in Palo Alto have designated classrooms for early arrivals and departures with no extra costs to parents. These are staffed by volunteers or some cases teachers and employees and call study hall or whatever you wish to call them. There are a great number of remedies for this problem, but I am amazed at the number of folks here that keep crying "we are in a PUBLIC school and there is nothing we can do". That is just weak.

Regarding Parents comments about my idealized school, well no, my school isn't ideal, it just isn't as miserable as yours is when it comes to taking care of student safety. Some of you have written that volunteers can not direct traffic due to legal liabilities. The legal liabilities your schools are on the hook for with inexcusable and unsafe traffic arrangements present a much greater financial problem not to mention an unacceptable danger to its student base.

Too many of you are making this out to be JUST a parental problem. Parents are too lazy to get up early, too undisciplined to wait 30 minutes in a frozen line to drop their kids off. Nonsense. The only parental responsibility I see is for them to get off their keister and make these school officials and school board members do their job.

Regarding private schools with the same problem, I'm sure that exists as well, this is not a private versus public school issue. I happen to be sending my two kids to a private school in a very small neighborhood, and through parental involvement and school leadership we have worked the problem out. Our parents do help with traffic control, it is a required duty. We must have an awesome legal staff backing us up :).

If you want to use the PTA whining about legal liability, and the teachers union rules not permitting them to create a safe environment for the kids, or not use school bond money for construction of safe schools for kids then you get the traffic nightmares that this forum is discussing.

This is a local systemic problem that can be solved with parental participation and pressure on the schools. Yes, I'm sure you can cite another school outside the district that has the same problems, but by in large, this is pretty much limited to the Palo Alto School district and the Menlo Park School District. They are among the worse I've ever seen nation-wide in addressing this problem. Could it be that all those green advocates keep confusing this safety issue by presenting it as an emission issue? I don't know.

Like I said, I drop my kids off and pick them up every day inside a 10 minute window because my school responded to parental complaints and a dangerous situation for students. I will avoid the school areas in the district in the mornings and afternoons, since I am fortunate enough to have a choice of which routes to use. I just hope we don't have another forum in a couple of months discussing how the traffic problem around our public schools led to the death of a student. The blame for that lies with both parents and the schools in this district.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 7, 2008 at 12:31 am

Amazed,

Want to put your kid in a public school for a year and do some rabble-rousing for us? You have a fine way with a rant.


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Posted by Amazed
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2008 at 10:14 am

We'll probably be in public school in a year or two unless we get a bump in income soon. Its hard to beat free. If and when we transfer over, you'll know its me. I'll be the guy asking dumb questions at the PTA and School Board meetings. :).


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 7, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Amazed,

The schools are good once you get into them . . .


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2008 at 4:10 pm

The problem of traffic congestion at schools is widespread, despite Amazed's personal experience to the contrary. Here is a link to an article from the U.S. Dept of Justice that gives guidance to police on how to deal with it.

Web Link

One quote from the introduction "School-related traffic congestion and the risks such congestion poses to the safety of the students, teachers, parents, residents, and motorists in and around school locations is a significant problem in communities both throughout the
United States and abroad. The most obvious cause of traffic
congestion around schools is vehicles, and the biggest source
of those vehicles is parents' dropping off and picking up their
children from school."


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Posted by Driver
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2008 at 5:16 pm

I lived in New England for a while. As a driver I remember getting stuck behind school buses on many occasions for 10 minutes while the bus flashed red and no cars could pass on either side. Sometimes, even after all the kids had got off, the lights would still flash red and no traffic moved. This happened regularly outside the schools and then again if you followed the school bus down a residential street the same thing happened as the bus stopped to let a child off or on and once again no traffic could pass because of the red flashing lights.

That did not help trafficflow. The kids got a false sense of security and ran out from the bus right across the streets without looking. How they would get on if they ever had to use a public bus that didn't have flashing red lights is beyond me.

This is not the sort of system we would want either.

We want our kids to learn how to use busy streets, not protect them by getting all the traffic to stop anytime a school bus stops for them to get on or off.


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Posted by idea_genie
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2008 at 11:18 pm

I think every year there is a combination of factors that leads to a lot of chaos on the roads this time of year: back to school routine takes time to set in again, people are all back from vacations so there is more congestion overall, new influx of parents who are seeing their first born go off to school and tend to make rookies errors. I think there is no easy way around it, but the schools really have to set some firm guidelines for drop and pick up, and police have to increase their presence around schools to enforce the traffic laws. Hopefully by the time the first rain comes, everyone will be somewhat seasoned and then we just have to watch out for those who forgot to how to drive on slippery roads.


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