At a Glance
The Safe Routes to School program encourages students to bicycle and walk to school, but this is not practical for all students. For parents who must drive their children to school, the strategies and resources below can help to reduce congestion and improve safety.
Curb Striping or Painting
Curb striping or painting can be used in drop-off and pick-up zones to clarify parking and other curb use rules. A typical color scheme runs as follows:
- White: Parking allowed.
- Blue: Parking for the disabled only.
- Green: Parking allowed for a short time.
- Yellow: Loading or unloading only.
- Red: No parking.
Signs help define areas in drop-off and pick-up zones and their proper use. Signs should be standard, highly visible, properly installed and well maintained. A local traffic engineer can recommend appropriate signs and their placement.
Separating Motor Vehicles from Pedestrians and Bikers
Separating students arriving on foot or bicycle from those arriving by motor vehicles is highly recommended, along with school practices that keep pedestrians and bikers from crossing parking lots. Provision of sidewalks and bikeways that are separated from motor vehicles will reduce a student's exposure to traffic. Separate bus and car zones are most effective, since they keep cars away from students leaving and entering buses.
Assistants to Help Students In and Out of Vehicles (Traffic Control/Student Valet Programs)
Providing curbside assistants in drop-off and pick-up zones to help students exit and enter motor vehicles can provide order to the process and decrease its time. Parents, school personnel, safety patrol or older students can serve as valets who open curbside doors for students to enter and exit vehicles and remove bags or other items. This speeds up the drop-off and pick-up process by eliminating the need for the parents to get out of the vehicle and ensures students are directly accessing designated locations. It is best to have enough assistants to help load three or four vehicles at a time to speed up the process in a safe manner.
Effective policies for dropping off students and picking them up require regular communication. Communication activities are best when used at the opening of school and after school breaks.
San Mateo County Street Smarts Materials