Schools and Congestion

A reader passed on this article from the UK suggesting that a significant portion of AM peak congestion may be due to the combination of school trips with employment commute trips.

So if we got all of our kids walking and biking to school, how much of our morning congestion could we do away with?


8 responses to “Schools and Congestion”

  1. Except a couple of factors:

    1. Terrible Terrible Vicki Phillips keeps closing neighborhood schools. For example, Winterhaven is going to move. Currently 100% of Winterhaven’s students live within it’s zip-code and two neighboring zip-codes. The new location? Zero students live withing three zip codes. Genius I tell you! And this same story happens all over town.

    2. Not all kids go to their neighborhood school. For high-schoolers not too much of a problem, because my kid will ride the bus. Probably starting around middle school. But I am not sending my kindergardener on Tri-Met alone – and there is NO TRANSIT between my child’s school and my office so, currently, I HAVE to drive.

    3. Some schools are across huge highways which we built with the “promise” that pedestrian access would be preserved – but those promises have been broken.

  2. I believe under state law the district has to provide buses for kids through middle school. Only in high school can they use transit.

    Perhaps we should change that?

  3. One thing to remember is that “school busses” are a relatively new concept in Europe; in fact First, which is a major transportation corporation in the U.K., claims to have innovated British school busses after it purchased the U.S. school bus business from Ryder, and took the concept east across the Atlantic (and they even use U.S. made Blue Bird busses, rather than European made transit bus-knockoffs.)

    Still, many parents (particularly of younger children) would rather hold that responsibility rather than passing it off to a school bus or hoping that their child can safely walk to and from school. I don’t blame them. The notion that slower school zone speed limits creates a “safe zone” is false; it only confuses drivers, and does nothing for children who walk beyond the boundaries of the school zone.

    I agree that as long as schools are moved out of the neighborhoods that congestion due to school child transport is going to be a major concern. If I remain living where I am today in three years, my son will have walking access to a middle school a very short distance; but the nearest elementary school is in a city where legally he or she could not live (King City, an “adult community”!!) on the fringe of development instead of in the middle of it – and would involve crossing divided Highway 99W.

  4. Two major fixes.

    Get a real education, home school. You won’t use transit or auto (they’re both bad when it comes to using resources and vauable time), you create greater bonds with your children, and statistically speaking the children end up with far superior education compared to public and often times private schooling.

    Someway to get highschool kids off of the roads in the morning would be ideal. Every city I’ve lived in when school is in session traffic is 2-4x as bad – easily. That includes New Orleans, Jacksonville, Memphis, Madison, Hattiesburg, and dozens of other places. It is a sad site to see a bunch of high schoolers driving to school knowing they’re the cause of not only congestion, but about 30-40% of the cost built into insurance rates, and the cause of thousands of deaths each year because they’re not mature enough to drive. At least on a whole, letting high schoolers drive to school is as bad as buying a gun and shooting one self in the foot.

    Speaking on that, high school drivers kill more people every year than people shoot and kill each other with guns. hmpf. Another naughty car related issue.

  5. Get a real education, home school.

    OK, are you going to replace the money I will lose by not having a job (because I’ll be at home teaching my kid)?

  6. Home schooling is not a real education.

    I am not an expert in every subject. Kids who are home schooled grow up lacking social skills, and lack the ability to function well away from mommy and daddy.

    The only reason home schooling might statistically look better is because the public schools in have such bad statistics.

    Saying home schooling is a real education is like saying that smoking is healthy because it kills you slower than the plague.

    But since in a real world most of us cannot home school, and many of us are forced by a school district which does not listen to it’s parents to have our neighborhood schools default to schools that are actually not in our neighborhoods – we should probably focus on the issue at hand, transportation.

    I would like to see smaller closer neighborhood schools, and I would like to see better transit options. But I think there is not going to be much of a chance of reducing congestion in the AM since schools start at the same time as work starts… Not much we can do about that I would imagine.

  7. We need more small neighborhood schools, at least for K-5. I can’t believe that in the age of the internet, we need to have administrators on site at every single school.

    Every neighborhood should have a small elementary school in walking distance of every home. Almost any building would do as long as it was safe (structurally sound, toxin-free, and so forth). You could convert a church, an old grocery store, even a small apartment building.

    With the right incentives, you probably could get a lot of mileage out of charter schools in bringing more schools into neighborhoods.

    As for high schools, maybe look into staggering school hours so that classes neither start nor end during peak commuter times.

  8. Terrible Terrible Vicki Phillips keeps closing neighborhood schools.

    And at the same time that Portland (where walking/biking/transit is good) is unable keep schools open, suburban districts (where walking/biking/transit is poor) are unable to open schools fast enough. Why? Part of it may be Portland’s fault, but a big reason is that people can flee to other districts and force those already there to pick up much of the cost of new schools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *