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Foothill High holds ceremony today as it converts parts of seniors' parking lot for carpoolers-only

Original post made on Feb 5, 2013

A ribbon cutting to dedicate a new carpool parking area will take place in front of Foothill High School this morning as the school and local and regional groups seek to reduce single-driver cars among the student population.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 7:22 AM

Comments (14)

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Posted by P-Town Chuck
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2013 at 10:01 am

The idea of high school students driving a group of other high school students on a regular basis ought to give ther parents some serious discomfort. One best talk to their insurance companies about this and one should consider having extremely good liability insursance (i.e. millions). It's really not fair to the child as well. It's just an enviornment that can cause them to have an accident or commit an infraction that can lead to repercussions with their driving record that they probably would not have had otherwise. When my children were of high school age, there is no way I would have considered this as an option.

Returning to using school buses is a much better option. Parents think paying for buses is too expensive, but I can assure you, it is nowhere near as expensive as driving a child to school, or worse yet, them having a car to drive themselves. And, kids driving kids, raises the cost aggregated cost much, much more.


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Posted by Reduce traffic? Not.
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 5, 2013 at 10:12 am

The car pool spaces have been there for a week and they are still only partially full. And let's be honest--20-25 carpoolers will not significantly reduce the traffic at that school. Even with the positive spin provided by the school about everyone being on board, most students are not behind the plan. Well over half of the students participate in extracurricular activities and sports, making it difficult to match schedules with others and meet the requirements of the program. And the sibling's don't count as carpoolers confusion was even more ridiculus.


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Posted by local
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

Another 'great' government program. First we restrict new drivers from having passengers in their cars, and at the same time make part of the parking lot for carpools for students. What gives?

The problem is the schools are overcrowded in Pleasanton because the district has not been spending the developer fees on growth-related items. The District has collected many millions of dollars recently for 'growth' but you have seen nothing addressing the growth. Next they are going to come to the ballot with another bond tax because they already squandered the money they had.


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Posted by lol
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 5, 2013 at 11:02 am

genius idea! especially considering most of those high school drivers are owners of PROVISIONAL licenses! now ppd can just ticket them all!


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Posted by Withheld
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

Yes, the students are asked to carpool. They are also asked to arrive 15 minutes early to campus to help with congregation around campus. The new tardy policy says that students will be given detention on their FIRST tardy. What are teachers doing to help solve the traffic problem around campus? What happens to teachers who are habitually tardy? Solution: teachers should arrive to campus by 7:30. They will be able to offer office hours at this time: drawing more students to campus earlier. This will be a winning solution for all.


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Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

This is beyond idiotic. Statistics have shown that one of the top contributors to accidents for teenagers (2nd or 3rd behind cellphones and alcohol) is PASSENGERS.

Kids are too easily distracted. So the logical thing to do is encourage MORE distractions in the car... Way to focus on a symptom, and not the cause.

By the way, do teachers carpool? It's probably easier to work out a reward system for teachers than students that is cost effective and safe.


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 6, 2013 at 2:10 am

Daniel Bradford is a registered user.

Traffic on Foothill Road on school days is extremely congested and a proven safety hazard.

The carpool idea is a good start, but having satellite parking lots where students can drive their own cars, and then take a shuttle bus to and from school, might be another solution. The only problem, of course, would be the cost of such a scheme.

I visited several large high schools in the north Dallas-Ft. Worth area and several of those schools had adopted satellite parking with shuttle bus service as a way to fight traffic congestion. These schools are in affluent areas, such as Plano, which are comparable to Pleasanton in demographics. I saw before/after videos of the morning and afternoon traffic by those high schools and it was a stunning difference: the schools went from gridlock traffic to slowly-but-surely moving traffic.

Assuming that each person in a carpool of four would have driven his/her own car, that means the carpool plan takes 90 cars off the road--not much of a dent in Foothill Road traffic.

However, a shuttle bus that carries 28 students from a satellite lot to the school takes 28 cars off the road. The satellite lots could be augmented by curbside pickup so that students could walk or bike to those depots (and there would be self-service bike storage) so that students without cars could also utilize the bus service.

It may be possible to fund this project (either partly or fully) with a Department of Transportation grant and with matching funds from the State of California. The shuttle buses themselves could be hybrid vehicles so as to reduce air pollution even further.

It's worth looking into, anyway....


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Posted by Gret
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2013 at 11:36 am

When we old farts were running things, we had a great solution for this road congestion problem -- it was called school buses. Its just amazing that in these days of environmental zealotry, that this idea hasn't been "rediscovered".


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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Senior students feel they have been denied a privelege they have waited for for 12 years, prime parking spots in the Senior lot!!!!
Why didn't Foothill put the carpool spots in the back of the Junior lot????
I also agree that encouraging students to carpool at this age can result in more accidents. There was a three car pile-up on the corner of Jorgensen and Foothill Rd. last week at 3:15 as the students were on their way home.
I understand that Foothill High wants to be "politically correct" by
touting the praises of carpool parking spots, but they obviously did not think things through.
Luckily it doesn't cost the school district much money to repaint the carpool spots!!!


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Posted by Senior Mom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Of course Amador High School didn't implement this ridiculous carpool
parking program because it is a stupid idea!
Due to the Juniors having limited driving privileges, the only kids who would use it would be Seniors, and they all have such varied extracurricular activities, sports, or jobs after school that it isn't possible to carpool.
Plus, as "Disgusted" stated, the Seniors have waited 12 years to have the right to the best parking spots in the lot.
I guess that is now considere "Parking spot discrimination".......


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Posted by Old Man
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 6, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Actually, the most they have been waiting is two years. But, I still agree that teen car-pooling is an accident waiting to happen.


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Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Any thought of buying an acre or two from the owners of the plot of land across the street similar to the Monte Vista setup or building a parking garage like Amador has (although I think that is for staff only)?


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

The problem with school buses and satellite parking lots is, of course, money.

You not only have to either lease (I'd recommend leasing) buses or buy them, you also have to pay people to drive and maintain the vehicles, not to mention the insurance costs. It's a matter that requires a comprehensive study of the best approach.

The same problem applies to a satellite parking lot where juniors and seniors could drive and drop off their vehicles, then take a shuttle bus to Foothill High. In fact, this could be the more expensive of the two approaches because you'd not only have to run the buses but also build, maintain, and provide security for the lot. The satellite parking lot is, however, a more flexible scheme for students, since it allows students to drive an individual vehicle that they can pick up without having to wait for carpool partners, etc.

The federal government does have funds available for mass transit schemes, but you do have to come up with local money. PUSD can't possibly raise that money on its own, since the district administration's actions have scuttled any hope of ever passing a parcel tax. The City of Pleasanton could provide bus service with a combination of local, state, and federal funds, but it'd take at least 12-18 months to get that proposal written and funded.

The carpool parking idea is an experiment and, as someone else already pointed out, it's a very inexpensive one: if it doesn't work out, the district can just re-paint the 30 designated spaces and try something else.

Another possibility would be for parents to petition the City of Pleasanton to make Foothill Road a much safer place for cyclists, perhaps by having a secured bike lane so that more students can feel safe riding their bikes to school. By a "secured" bike lane, I mean one that has its own curb separating the lane from motor traffic and hazard lights at strategic intervals so that bicyclists are clearly visible to motorists when it's dark outside. If I were a parent of a Foothill High student, I wouldn't allow my teen to ride a bike on Foothill Road in the early morning hours; the road is too narrow and I've often seen drivers speeding (not to mention driving while sipping a latte and texting the world's most important message). A secured or separated bike lane would actually cost the district nothing (the City of Pleasanton would provide it) and encourage teens to ride their bicycles. No buses, no parking lots, no cars, and all Foothill High would have to do is buy some bike racks.

The long-term solution to the transit problem is, of course, to relieve overcrowding at both AVHS and FHS by building a third high school. But once again, that would require the Ahmadi Administration to invoke the trust of the voters in its ability to prudently manage a bond issue to build the new school...something Superintendent Ahmadi has not shown herself either capable of nor interested in.


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 6, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Here's a link to a photo of what a "secure" or separated bike lane looks like (from Copenhagen, Denmark):

Web Link

I would want hazard flashers also demarcating the line between the car and bike lanes, for safety's 'sake, and Pleasanton police would also have to patrol Foothill to make sure that motorists don't trespass into the bike lane and to make sure that when it's dark, ALL cyclists use lights and wear helmets.


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