News: M-A Students Work to Make Transportation Safer
This past Friday at lunch, a volunteer and adviser for the council of Menlo Park on transportation issues met and spoke to a group of students about the safety of driving, biking, walking and taking the bus to and from school.
A similar group of students met in December and discussed the potential dangers of walking and biking down streets in East Menlo Park, such as Coleman Avenue and Middlefield Road. During the most recent meeting on Jan. 24, students plotted where they lived and how they got to school, including the route that they take and trouble spots.
Representatives of Portola Valley and Ladera expressed concerns with the safety of biking on Alpine Road. Although new bike lanes have been put in place by the freeway, the 45 mph speed limit makes biking unsafe, so most parents do not allow their students to bike to school. The representatives also mentioned concern with the bike paths that run parallel to Alpine: erosion of the pavement and poison oak bushes make the paths less than ideal.
All students who took the bus explained how crowded the buses are on the way home. There are two Samtrans buses in the morning–295 and 86–but in the afternoon there is only one bus, crowded with over 40 kids everyday. This issue will only worsen as more students come to M-A. Teachers expressed hope that buses will come more frequently in alignment with school hours. They also hope to see discounted passes for students that frequently take the bus.
Other students brought up the lack of cross walks and traffic lights for bikers and pedestrians at the five-way crossing of Marsh Road and Bay Road. There have been many accidents in this cross way due to the lack of stop signs, traffic lights, and cross walks, making crossing on foot or bike dangerous and difficult.
Another trouble spot for bikers is Santa Cruz Avenue, which is narrow and lacks bike paths, according to senior Tiffany Yang. This comes at the annoyance of many automobile drivers who are forced to share the road with bicyclists.
M-A students are challenged not only to improve transportation, but also to find eco-friendly means of transportation. Last year, Menlo High School and Sacred Heart High School participated in the Earth Day challenge. For a week, representatives of the student body raised awareness about cleaner methods of transportation. On Earth Day, the representatives counted the number of students who came to school via bike, car, carpool, roller skating, walking and the bus. The two schools then compared results and the winner planted a tree at the other school with a plaque.
M-A has been challenged to participate this coming Earth Day. The Farmer’s Market Club is planning to encourage students to find more eco-friendly transportation methods on Earth Day.
Students are advised to listen to the announcements for the next meeting about traffic safety and bring forth any ideas to solve these traffic safety problems.