Safer Driving = Safer Streets
Can we just make our neighborhoods more walkable?
Yes. We can and should promote more walkable neighborhoods. And sure, more students could probably walk or take a bus. But the reality is that here in Oakland, OUSD "live/go" and "go/live" rates and transit options are such that many families are commuting by car from another neighborhood. And the more dangerous traffic issues there are around the school, the less likely neighboring students are to bike or walk.
Tips for drivers in a school zone: Don't be *that* driver!
- Don't speed.
- Don't block intersections or crosswalks.
- Don't make U-turns anywhere near the school.
- Don't park in red zones. Learn more about daylighting to better understand why this is important for student safety.
- Obey speed limits, which are slower in school zones and fines are increased.
- Look out for crossing guards, students and cyclists.
- Look for school buses and stop in either direction if the red lights are flashing
Tips for Drop-off / Pick-up lanes
- Don't get out of your car.
- Don't put anything in the trunk your students will need.
- Make sure students do not exit the car on the street side, or non-drop off side.
- Make sure your child can get out of the car on their own without your assistance.
- Say your goodbyes and give reminders well before you pull up, not after the door opens.
- Never back up, park, or wait in the drive-through lane.
- Follow signs and street marking and pay attention to the directions of crossing guards and curbside staff and volunteers.
- If possible, consider skipping the drop-off lane, parking in the area and walk your child to school. If you do, avoid smash and grabs by avoiding leaving any visible items or valuables in your car.
"Each morning, as soon as we pass a pink house two blocks away from the school, we all know what to do. I start with goodbyes and reminders, and the kids start getting ready to hop out."
- Oakland parent
Tips for schools and parent associations
- Develop written traffic guidelines with a clear map showing the expected path of travel for drop off and pick ups. Use photos and explain consequences for repeat offenders.
- Observe traffic patterns during peak times and come up with action items for follow-up.
- Educate parents by including periodic reminders in newsletters, for parents and caregivers.
- Take photos of dangerous situations to share with the parent community and/or advocate to the city for improvements.
- Create a simple 1-pager with guidelines to distribute and post online. Share copies to neighbors and hand out to parents and caregivers.
- Use Tactical Urbanism to promote your campaigns. If the City is taking to long to implement an engineered solution, purchase your own in-street sign and safety cones to use to slow traffic and warn drivers.
- Work with your city representatives to recommend small fixes and longer term capital improvements
- Create a safety patrol program, If your school has older students. Shout out to Oakland' Unified's Veronica Martinez for winning the honor of the 2018 Safety Patrol Advisor of the Year for the entire United States!
- Promote awareness of bus safety for parent drivers and students.
Tips for students
- Learn how to safely walk to school, bike or ride a bus to school by attending local traffic safety events and watching safety videos online
- Review the school traffic policies with your parents and caregivers and remind them to obey the rules.
- Meet with parents and school staff to share concerns and help brainstorm ideas.
- Write letters to city staff and officials and share your ideas and concerns in person.
- Make signs to remind drivers to pay attention, drive safely and follow the rules and laws.
- Spot a problem? Invent your own solution! Come up with ideas to make your streets safer and share your ideas and prototypes with others.
Tips for neighbors
- Get a copy of the school's traffic safety plan. If they don't have one, encourage them to write one by sharing the resources on this page as a starting place.
- Assume the best intentions and seek to educate those attempting to park illegally.
- If there are repeat offenders, take photos and share with school administration so that they can follow-up directly with parents. Work together to identify solutions.
- Submit dangerous traffic conditions to See-Click-Fix and share throughout your neighborhood networks.
- Attend your local neighborhood council meetings and share your concerns with your Community Resource Officer and Neighborhood Services Coordinator.
- Join school officials on a neighborhood walk-through to identify risks and engineering solutions.
- Join the school community and other neighbors for a Paint the Town event to slow traffic and increase visibility of the school zone.
Tips for cities and school districts
- Prioritize repairs in school zones and don't wait for parent letter writing campaigns to respond.
- Support Walk and Roll to School Day, a Bike Rodeo or other bike and pedestrian safety day
- Coordinate with OPD safety officers and ticketing division to address repeat offenders and speeding drivers around schools during peak times.
- Make sure crosswalks, curbs and signage are in good condition around every school before school starts.
- Ensure that garbage, recycling and street sweeping trucks do not work in school zones during peak drop off and pick-up times.
- Partner with transit agencies for reduced or free transit passes for students.
- Focus on improving safety of bus stops near schools.
Who's doing what in Oakland
- Lincoln Elementary guidelines in Oakland Chinatown
- The Head Royce School Transportation Plan
- Alameda County Safe Routes to Schools
- Golden Gate School Zone Initiative
- Santa Fe School Zone Initiative
- Cleaveland Elementary Safety Patrol
- Franklin Elementary School Safety Project
- Hillcrest Drop-off and Parking Procedures
- Montclair Elementary Golden Rules of Drop-off
- Bike Days at Sequoia Elementary