Fewer Cars, Safer Streets
As Published in Community Matters Quarterly, October 2017
Our local schools are a source of community pride and add tremendous value to our vibrant area. However, as neighbors will confirm, they are not without their morning and afternoon traffic jams. The district has worked hard over the last few years to reduce the traffic load at each school as much as possible. We thought you'd like to know some of the initiatives we have taken to improve traffic and student commute safety throughout our town.
- Bus Options
MPCSD operates 5 school bus routes, transporting approximately 350 students daily and reducing up 700 car trips
Samtrans provides busing to Encinal, Oak Knoll, and Hillview, providing a daily average of 345 passenger trips further reducing automobile traffic to our schools.
- Neighborhood Schools
About 55% of our students live less than 1 mile from their school. The opening of the Laurel School Upper Campus reduced the distance for about 160 children and reduced the enrollment at Encinal and Oak Knoll, therby reducing cross-town commutes. Neighborhood schools also create a greater sense of community and encouragement for walking and biking.
- Biking and Walking
Menlo Park students take advantage of our good weather and flat streets to bike to school in large numbers. On good weather days there is an average of 700 bikers, reducing up to 1400 car trips to our schools.
The District has stationed 11 crossing guards at major intersections near its five campuses to encourage and support safe walking and biking to our schools.
- Green Alternatives
District offers transit and vanpool use incentives to staff.
Electrical Vehicle Chargers at each school encourage environmentally friendly options.
“MPCSD Bikes” are now available to staff to reduce car trips for staff between school sites and District office.
- Santa Cruz Avenue Sidewalks
The district recently celebrated the completion of the Santa Cruz Avenue sidewalk project, a collaboration of the City of Menlo Park and many other local agencies. Hillview and Oak Knoll students now have a safer route for walking to school.
- Safe Routes to School
The District has worked with the City to identify infrastructure improvements like expansion sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike route improvements. The schools provide bikes rodeos and education to students and participation in the County’s Safe Routes to School Program. There is a robust parent initiative supporting Safe Routes to School, which was also the topic of our first parent education event of the year on September 19. View the video of the speaker event here.