TPS Using Afternoon Shuttle To Help Traffic Flow

Friday, April 24th 2015, 7:52 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa Public Schools takes a new route to relieve after-school congestion. Next week, the district starts a shuttle service at one school to bus students off-site to meet their parents.

It's only an after school shuttle because traffic isn't as bad in the mornings, but starting Tuesday every student in third, fourth or fifth grades won't be at the Zarrow International School after school, they're going to be at a park a mile away.

Every afternoon, traffic starts building, and the combination of an elementary and two nearby private schools adds to the congestion.

Because of the traffic, parents start arriving about an hour before school lets out and the folks who arrive on time end up at the back of the line.

The congestion prompted TPS and its Director of Transportation, Scott Allen, to try a new idea - shuttle students away from school to meet their parents.

Read The Letter Sent To Parents By TPS

"We're hoping that it will take 50 or 60 cars out of the mix, away from the school," Allen said.

TPS plans to bus all third, fourth and fifth graders from Zarrow over to Whiteside Park; they'll be dropped off there after school.

The district said employees will be at the park, at least to start with, but the whole idea has some parents, like Anita Moeller, worried.

"These are eight to 12 year olds and you don't let your children even walk down the street and the school is going to drop them off at a park for the parents to pick them up? What if my car won't start and I don't get here on time," she asked.

The school is encouraging parents to make connections in case that happens, since the children will be offsite.

Parents can still pick up younger children at school, or children leaving early, but, otherwise, every student and parent will have to go to Whiteside.

"I don't think we should put our children's safety at risk for the sake of traffic convenience," Moeller said.

Some parents appreciate any effort to reduce traffic, because many spend more than an hour waiting to get in or out.

The district will run a test Monday then make it final Tuesday.

The school is also changing how the younger grades dismiss to help with traffic flow around the building.