School buses what a concept
Chances are youve been an unwilling participant in the morning or afternoon gridlock near the roundabout on Highway 82, fueled partly by the crush of vehicles entering or departing Aspens three-school campus on Maroon Creek Road. This week, Aspen School District board members discussed the traffic that floods Aspens elementary, middle and high schools every day, as teachers and students jockey for parking spots, while some parents act as a shuttle-service for their children. Now administrators are considering towing, booting and increasing fines on cars that are parked illegally, while at the same time encouraging students to take the bus or even walk or bike to school. Its too bad it has gotten to this point. Indeed, district Superintendent Diana Sirko recently noted that plenty of driver-disincentive programs have been used over the past few years, but failed to work. The school district even hired a parking enforcement officer, who quit after just two months. Its rare to find a campus that provides enough parking for teachers, administrators and students who drive to school, let alone enough space for buses and a line of cars driven by parents picking up or dropping off their kids. Thats where we see room for improvement. In studying how it wants to approach new parking disincentives, we hope that the school board will strongly discourage parents from habitually dropping their children off at school every day, when many of their vehicles could stay off the campus altogether if their children took the bus. Currently, only about one half of the districts students use the bus. Theres also a safe trail system which students could use by cycling or walking that connects to the school campus. Just as students can be taught to badger their parents about recycling and using energy-saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs in their homes, perhaps riding the school bus could become the next frontier for the environmental movement. It also would have the beneficial side effect of cutting down Maroon Creek Road traffic every morning and afternoon, which could help ease the commute.