Overcrowded Crosstown Shuttle and Safety Concerns
Original post made by Student ('07) on Jan 10, 2007
Everyday, students at Gunn take their chances to guess which of two stops the shuttle will reach first. Those walking to the Miranda stop jaywalk through an intersection then walk against traffic in a bike lane (no sidewalks) with cars and UPS vans speeding by at 35. Rainy days cause puddles, forcing many to walk onto roadways. If the shuttle reaches Miranda first, those waiting at the second stop in front of Gunn will jaywalk (in one entire group) across all four lanes of Arastradero whether or not the light is red or green. Motorists honk and wave hand gestures at the twenty or so students running across the roadway.
When the doors open, the mass of students shove on trying to get any remaining seats or just to keep themselves from getting left behind. If they are lucky, the driver will allow them to get on despite being over the legal capacity. Full of up to 40 students, each with backpacks, textbooks, and instruments, the shuttle continues down Arastradero. It passes Terman Middle School, where the driver will sometimes stop to let a few middle schoolers on. Usually, however, a group of 5-10 will be left behind waiting for the next shuttle (40 minutes).
The Crosstown shuttle is so packed that students in the front have to get off in order to let others in the back disembark at stops. It is also so crowded that the driver cannot see to his/her left because the view is blocked by students in front of the doorway. At stopsigns and intersections, the driver asks these students to tell him/her when there isn't a car coming.
If the city or council really wanted to encourage commuters to use alternative forms of transit, another shuttle is desperately needed. Biking may be an option for some but a 5-mile roundtrip discourages me and carrying a brass instrument on a bicycle isn't exactly easy. The current situation aboard the shuttle also endangers the safety of students.
This is my last and final year at Gunn, and after four years here nothing has changed with the crosstown shuttle. I live right next to a shuttle stop, but the benefits of driving a car outweigh the benefits of running across four lanes of traffic or being packed into an overcrowded shuttle. Adding another shuttle during peak times would promote the use of alternative transportation and solve safety issues.
For years the city council has done nothing about the Crosstown shuttle. Is it going to take a fatal traffic collision and a sacrifice of student lives to get the city or council to do something pragmatic???
on Jan 10, 2007 at 8:15 pm
Well said Gunn student. The Embarcadero shuttle for Paly students is a similar situation, although I have never used it myself. My daughter has used it and has exactly the same comments. I like to give my children the opportunity of independence getting themselves to and from school, but realistically, it is not an easy thing to do. The fact that these shuttles are used in this way shows that we need them for school transport. This is apart from the use made by seniors who don't drive, and various other members of the community. I havae no idea how these free shuttles are funded, but the realiy is that we desperately need more. If funding is the problem, then we need to relook at the fact that they are free. If we could double the number of shuttles, charging a nominal fee, we would still have the same ridership. If we introduced another route, the question would be where? Someone does need to look into this and do something about it. The schools are getting bigger, there is more housing being built, and transport must be affected. Traffic concerns are always mentioned whenever anything is discussed at the school level. Transport must be a priority by the City for the City and soon.
on Jan 11, 2007 at 12:51 pm
As I said on another strand earlier, it's time for the school board and the city council to take a look at the traffic problems generated by our school board decisions (neighborhood schools, choice programs) and take steps together to make resolving them a top priority.
on Jan 11, 2007 at 9:23 pm
Gunn student, I agree with you! You are making some excellent points. We live on the opposite side of town, and the Embarcadero shuttle is close to unusable for our students - too crowded with pushing and shoving as students try to get on after school at Paly. I understand that sometimes way too many students are permitted on (standing), which I doubt is safe in the kind of traffic we get around here!