How can a school separate cars and buses from pedestrians and bicyclists?

It may be appropriate to provide a separate travel lane for buses, a separate lane for private motor vehicles, and specific routes for pedestrians and bicyclists. Separate bus zones can be established either on the school site, or on the adjacent street, wherever sufficient room exists.

School bus loading areas should be separated from parent drop-off and pick-up areas if possible to ensure that there is no spillover from the vehicles into the bus area. Signs, pavement markings, gates or orange cones may be used to provide this separation, but some education and enforcement will also be needed.

To further reduce conflicts, school facilities can be arranged to eliminate or reduce the number of children walking through parking lots. Children should walk around parking lots on dedicated walkways or sidewalks. If this is not possible, clearly marked walkways through parking lots with adult or older student monitors should be used, and speed calming treatments such as humps or bumps should be employed in the parking lots.

A separation of arrival and departure time may also be useful. Staggered bell times for groups of students help to disperse the traffic peak at schools during the relatively short drop-off and pick-up periods. Staggered release, or bell, times for walkers or bicyclists, bus riders and carpoolers can help reduce pedestrian or bicyclist exposure to, and minimize conflicts with, motor vehicles. Conflicts often occur when private vehicles and busses arrive at the same time and in the same location. For example, buses may use a drop-off and pick-up lane at a certain time to be followed by private motor vehicle use at a later time. Staggered bell times are most applicable for schools with a large student population or when two or more schools are in close proximity to one another.