Increased enrollment means more than just crowded schools.  It also means extremely crowded drop-off and pick-up times on residential streets.   Last week, a Brittan Acres parent bringing his child to school in the morning was hit by a car.  Fortunately, the injuries were relatively minor, but the incident highlighted an issue that Principal John Triska has been working on this since first arriving at BA -- the need for enhanced safety measures during pick-up and drop-off times.

Each morning hundreds of families head to school by foot, bicycle and car.   Most of these families, ours included, arrive within a five minute window prior to the bell ringing signaling the start of the school day. While people are careful at drop off time, the shear volume of vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic adds a risk to the safety of everyone arriving at school.    

The graduated schedules and on-site after school care and activities bring about some relief to the crowdedness at pick-up times. Therefore, we should first focus on ways to alleviate the congestion at drop off time in the morning.   We do have an effort to promote safe routes to schools, and one option that Principal Triska is implementing at BA and that is in place elsewhere involves asking for parent volunteers to serve as crossing guards at busy intersections.  We should continue to look at what more can be done, however.  One idea would be to look into ways to stretch out the drop off time, to provide some much-needed relief during the period of time between the first and second bells.  While some of the elementary schools provide supervision for as much as 20 minutes before the first bell there is little incentive to do so.  Offering before-school activities such as clubs, or structured games in the school yard are just two of many possible ideas.  

There is not a one size fits all solution to this problem as each school will have different traffic challenges to address.  I do believe though, that the School Board and Administration with input from the community should tackle this issue.  We may not be able to solve the challenge of crowded schools overnight, but we can take steps now to ensure that getting to and from school is a safer experience.