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Percentage of kids who drive themselves to school?

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 1, 2014

We regularly are told bike counts of how many kids ride bikes to school.

Do we have the same figures for those juniors and seniors who have car park permits as a percentage of the class? Can we compare the percentage of those who drive themselves to school last year to 5 years ago or 10 years ago or even 20 years ago?

My feeling is that a much smaller number of teens are getting their licenses in high school and I would imagine that the only way to make a comparison would be the number of parking permits sold.

When we have surveys done at schools, do we ever look at how students travel to school? Should we start finding this information.

A simple survey asking students how they most often travel to school with several options, walking, biking, school bus, shuttle/vta bus, parent driven car/car pool, student self drive car. These figures would be useful to any traffic engineer and to safe school routes/PTA/etc.

Comments (4)

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Posted by Atticus
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 1, 2014 at 4:08 pm

My son graduated 10 years ago, but at that time the Paly student parking lot was FULL.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 1, 2014 at 4:47 pm

I think that only Paly Seniors will be allowed to buy parking permits this year because of lost parking due to construction


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 2, 2014 at 12:02 am

The data wouldn't be reliable because it could easily change. My senior had a parking permit but didn't drive all the time, so counting parking permits is a start but not necessarily reliable. The traffic continually changes year by year.

Two years ago, I could drop him off easily at Churchill via the left turn lane on Alma (traveling north).

This year, that left turn lane is so backed-up that it takes 3 light changes before I can turn. Cars aren't allowed to drive straight on Churchill (crossing the tracks, towards El Camino) between the time of 7:45AM-8:30AM due to students biking to Paly. They really should find a way to block off Churchill during those hours for bike safety, although that would be a miracle.

Students know that it's faster to ride their bikes to school, so my son usually rode his bike instead of driving. Or I'd drop him off and he'd take the Embarcadero shuttle after school.

When my daughter was on crutches and I drove her to Paly for 5 weeks, the majority of cars on Embarcadero Rd. and Churchill were not turning into the Paly parking lots. So the Embarcadero and Churchill morning congestion is from outside commuters.

Also, while driving my younger child to a 9:00 Stanford camp recently, there was congestion on both Embarcadero and Churchill between 8:45-9:15.

I'm voting for Eric Filseth for City Council since he is fighting to keep Palo Alto liveable for families and is opposing growth and traffic congestion. We have so many commuters cutting through our city - we're supposed to be a suburb, not a big city.


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Posted by Biking Mom
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jul 2, 2014 at 12:35 am

I know of many parents in our neighborhood who live within walking distance to Palo Alto High School and Jordan that feel a need to drive their kids to school each day.
Then there are the parents who give their kids a car so their kids can drive to Paly.
I can understand this if they lived in the Hills, but when it is within walking/biking distance it seems ridiculous and only adds to the congestion/pollution.

Our city has invested a great deal of money and education on biking, but the newer families in our community are teaching their kids that it is okay to drive everywhere.


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