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School, city leaders worry state bill could create traffic, safety problems

Original post made on Sep 15, 2017

A state bill that would require all California secondary schools to start the day no earlier than 8:30 a.m. has gathered a mix of support and opposition in Palo Alto.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 15, 2017, 6:54 AM

Comments (14)

Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2017 at 8:05 am

The start time for school is a local issue. The state and for that matter should not dictate school start times.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2017 at 8:25 am

School times dictate commute times and when school is not in session commutes are much easier. Parents who drop kids off on the way to work will probably still need to get to work at the same time. The staggered start times seem to make it easier for those who bike or walk but not for someone who has to drop two kids off in different schools.

I think there will still be a need for playground supervision in elementary schools and access to secondary schools before 8.00 am.

When the high schools changed to later start times, most kids had to get out of bed at about the same time as before because the commute to school took longer since they were passing schools that were experiencing their rush commute times too.

Nice idea in theory. The practicality may be much harder for those who need more sleep to get more sleep.

Posted by Pam
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 15, 2017 at 11:36 am

Pam is a registered user.

Palo Alto created and maintained the traffic congestion challenge with their aggressive refusal to allow the southern approach (Oregan/Embarcadero) to the Dumbarton Bridge. If you want to eliminate the vast majority of through traffic in Palo Alto, the southern approach to the Dumbarton Bridge must be built.
We have the engineering expertise and corporations have the social responsibility to provide funding. Palo Alto can not longer hide behind ecology concerns when it's really about the airport and golf course. We can protect the wetlands and provide safe routes for children.

Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2017 at 12:11 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@ Pam - We'll build the southern approach to the Dumbarton Bridge as soon as the WIllow Expressway is complete, ok?

Posted by from Canada
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 15, 2017 at 12:44 pm

I grew up in Canada. The all start around 9 am. All schools... all cities... all boards. It's nuts school starts so early here. Because of 9 am start, it allowed extracurricular clubs and activities to meet before school. Band practice? Before school started. Sports teams? Before school started. Library can open up early and do homework club in the mornings. People who need to drop off children at 8 am can do so. Given the crazy work culture in the Bay area... parents likely want early drop offs so they can get to work right after drop offs. Late start times are not necessarily a bad thing.

But then again... there is universal single payer health care up in Canada... and a sane person for the leader who doesn't act like a clown.

Sometimes the American way is not always the best way. Metric versus imperial system is an indicator of how USA can't embrace the new and better system while the entire world went on to use the metric system that makes complete logical sense.

Listen folks who complain about traffic. Working leaving for work at 8am should NOT be the primary driving force in making the kids get to school to study at 8am. 9am start would allow more "fun" or "physical" activities to happen at 8 am.. and then the kiddos can hunker down and do the academic stuff at 9am.

And while you consider being sane and joining the rest of the world.. may want to consider using the metric system as well. At least TEACH it to our kids so they can be part of the rest of the world when they graduate.

Posted by Pam
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 15, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Pam is a registered user.

FYI - The original northern approach is Marsh Road. The original southern and northern approaches where designed to limit traffic on University Avenue and Willow Road.

Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Better keep our eyes on this one too! Not about education, but will make it possible for developers to call the shots with impunity-bet Marc Berman is voting for this bad law.

Senate Bill 35, from Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, seeks to streamline the approval process for new housing by eliminating environmental and planning reviews for some projects.

State law requires California cities to set aside land under local zoning regulations for housing of all income levels, from rooms for the homeless to luxury high-rises. Wiener argues that, too often, local elected officials cave to neighborhood pressure to kill or water down housing proposals, and as a result, cities have not built enough housing to keep pace with population increases.

Under his bill, developers in cities that aren’t on track to meet their state housing requirements will be allowed to bypass local government review. Local elected officials will retain decision-making control in cities that are on track to meet their goals.

Read more here: Web Link

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 15, 2017 at 6:36 pm

@Steve, thanks for that important warning about the implications.

Two words: School buses.

Fix the shuttle timing to transport the kids and free up the parents and reduce neighborhood encroachment. We're already paying for the shuttle.

PA doesn't need much help re congestion around schools. The ARB/Planning Dept is wctively considering a proposal NOW to dramatically reduce parking for the Walter Hays school and the Community Center to accommodate the expanded Children's Zoo at Middlefield and Embarcadero -- already one of the most congested feeder routes to/from 101 and Stanford.

Walter Hays has 40 staff and 580 students whose parents already struggle to find nearby parking. We don't need more neighborhood encroachment and blocked drives! (Write/call amy,[email protected] since most of the "stakeholders" won't be able to attend the 8:30AM ARB review on 9/21).

Jordan has 1300 students. Traffic already backs up to and INTO Oregon thanks in part to the reconfigured lights and bike lane.

PLEASE stop making it worse for those of living near schools and;or trying to get to them!

Posted by Numbers Gal
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 15, 2017 at 8:30 pm

Minor corrections - Hays has 384 students (not 580) and Jordan has 1,115 (not 1,300). Both are down from last year, and Hays has been going down for a few years. These were in the enrollment report presented at the last school board meeting.

Posted by Smoke grass before class
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2017 at 8:58 pm

Working parents will need to dump the kids at or near school early. The children will then have time to get abducted, do drugs or both. It appears that all of the really smart folks became state legislators - NOT.

Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 15, 2017 at 10:31 pm

"The start time for school is a local issue. The state and for that matter should not dictate school start times."

I agree. But after Sacramento took over responsibility for funding the schools after Prop 13 was implemented, it took ever greater control over them.

It's the Golden Rule: Who has the gold, rules.

Conservatives used to talk up local control. But P13's money allure trumped, and still trumps, all bedrock conservative principles. That Gold Rules rule is bedrockier than anything else.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 15, 2017 at 10:58 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@Numbers Gal, thanks for the corrections re the enrollment figures.

I hope the city can coordinate the shuttle times with the school schedules and/or the city and PAUSD can resurrect the school buses, not make it worse by eliminating parking and pushing all those cars into the neighborhoods.

Posted by Sanity
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2017 at 6:23 am

I am surprised the State has gotten this right. When the locals failed to address what is in the obvious interest of students.

Local solutions weren't working- just reading all the comments makes it clear why.

Posted by Secondary should start later and elementary earlier
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 17, 2017 at 8:04 am

Secondary should start later and elementary earlier is a registered user.

Walter hays currently starts school at 8:25 and Fairmeadow at 8:30 as two examples. They could start closer to 8 and the middle and high school students at 8::30. One issue is the VTP students, the bus schedule needs to work for the drop off at various schools.

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