Safety must be priority at Marin school bus stops – Marin Independent Journal | #schoolsaftey

Drivers head up Sir Francis Drake Boulevard after turning off Red Hill Avenue at the Hub intersection in San Anselmo, Calif., on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)

There are good reasons for schoolchildren to ride a bus to and from school.

It is safe and it takes cars off the road, both on busy arterials and in front of school campuses.

But when you remove the first reason – safety – you understandably undermine ridership.

That’s what the Ross Valley School District is facing after a San Anselmo school bus stop had to be moved from Memorial Park, a spot removed from traffic, to busy Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

The move has some parents worried, fearing that the new stop is hazardous.

Marin Transit runs the district’s bus service and its Memorial Park stop had to be temporarily moved for about three months because of repairs and renovations underway at the park.

The relocation started Sept. 25 and has triggered concerns among parents that the throng of kids and their parents crowding the sidewalk in front of fast-moving traffic is an accident waiting to happen.

Coming into the winter months and rainy weather only increases safety concerns.

Parents are asking the district and Marin Transit to consider safer alternatives for the estimated 75 students who used the Memorial Park stop.

Those parents who have raised safety concerns have also offered some ideas, which should be explored as possible short-term options.

The district has been encouraging the use of the buses, but moving the stop to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, even temporarily, is not going to help.

In addition, many parents have already paid for a full school year of bus service, as much as $1,000 for morning and afternoon rides, August to June. They were not advised of the change from Memorial Park at the time they paid.

Somewhere there was a gap in communication.

Safety concerns should have been addressed before the stop was moved, not after. Parents should have been advised about the change long before it took place so they could have been involved in coming up with a temporary bus stop.

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