bike and walk to school day

If you have a kid in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, you received an ominous automated phone call, text, and email yesterday encouraging you to fill out a survey about school bus transportation. The email said:

As you may know, CHCCS no longer has enough school bus drivers to cover all of our routes on time. The status quo cannot continue. Something has to change. CHCCS must make school bus transportation more reliable in the 2023-24 school year, and we need your opinion on a variety of future options, which you can share by completing this brief survey. Possibilities include a change in elementary school bell schedules, magnet student transportation and bus stop consolidation.

The survey asks you to answer a few questions, and then has an open-ended area for further recommendations or suggestions. We wanted to share how we answered this question:

We believe that the Chapel Hill and Carrboro school bus issues speak to the wider need for safe streets and greenways. We think the school district should work with the Town of Chapel Hill and NCDOT to provide safe and convenient pathways for students to use to bike to school over longer distances. This could include:

  •  A “bike bus” with support from the town to provide a safe route and safe crossing of intersections.  This could address, for example, access to Glenwood Elementary School by students living in Glen Lennox, who currently are not considered to be in the walk zone because of the dangerous crossing of NC 54. CHCCS, the Town, and NCDOT could collaborate to develop a safe, twice-per-morning and twice-per-afternoon crossing. It will require personnel but likely would be cheaper and easier than running additional buses.
  • Funding a Safe Routes to School position at the district that can coordinate efforts across Chapel Hill and Carrboro to make biking/walking/rolling to school more feasible for kids.
  • Continuing to encourage both towns to pursue safe protected greenways that connect our schools to our neighborhoods. (Related: Bolin Creek Greenway: Protected, safe biking and walking routes to school.)

We are also concerned about our teachers. We know teachers were sent a similar survey – and we know that many of our teachers are commuting long distances to teach in our district. We encourage you to fill out the survey and to sign up with other parents and kids working to build connected greenways across our towns.

Sign up for the Carrboro Linear Parks Project mailing list to get updates on building out Carrboro’s greenway network. Visit the Carrboro Linear Parks Project website for more information. There’s also a helpful FAQ with answers to many questions.

Update: We support the creekside alignment for the reasons detailed here.

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