CART Meeting Notes 02-10-12

Meeting Notes
Meeting #8 – February 10, 2012
Jim Fraser, Frank Doyle, Sandy Donnell, George Rodericks, Wendi Kallins,
Trisha Seyler, Peggy Curran, Felicia Wheaton, John Frick, Bryn Argov, Susan
Moorehead, Sandy Paine, Marcia Short, Robert Betts
The group began a roundtable discussion revolving solely around buses, and what the
group should look at first. Currently, there are three buses which service RUSD (2 are
Novato, 1 is First Student). The cost to ride is $427 one-way and $854 round-trip, per
child. Each bus has a capacity of 78-84 students and costs the district $31,000 to $41,000
a year for one-way ridership. The survey largely indicated that the existing buses are
costly and that there are not enough buses. If it were easier and cheaper for children to
ride the bus, parents would be more inclined to allow their children to ride the bus,
instead of being driven to school. Therefore, the group discussed ways in order to
decrease the cost of the bus, and increase the number of buses.
Susan Moorehead of First Student suggested that the group look at City of Danville
which had similar traffic problems centered around school start and end times. By
passing a small sales tax to help pay for sixteen buses, Danville was been able to take
approximately 1,500 cars off the roadway during those peak times. Parents also only had
to pay $90/year for each child to ride the bus. In order for Danville to be successful, a
group called “Traffix” studied the traffic patterns for almost five years before coming up
with the solution of putting a sales tax measure on the ballot.
The group discussed ways to subsidize the cost of buses and determined that an efficient
and effective route system also needs to be developed. One way to subsidize the cost of
buses would be to tax parcels within the school district. This way it would be fair to
Belvedere, Tiburon and Corte Madera, where children are commuting from. Another
idea would be to issue a parcel tax for residents of only Belvedere and Tiburon, since
alleviating the traffic would truly benefit these two communities. In regards to a bus
routing system, Susan volunteered to speak with her contacts which utilize elaborate
school bus routing software, to see if they could assist RUSD, and requested a list of
students by address to come up with preliminary results for consideration. In addition,
Chief Cronin volunteered to contact the City of Danville to find out more about the
Traffix group, and how the City was able to pass a sales tax measure in order to subsidize
the cost of more buses for their community, and in turn drop the cost for parents.
Infrastructure modifications were another option discussed by the group. The Town of
Tiburon blocked off the north crosswalk in front of Reed School, in order to allow traffic
to continue to make right hand turns onto Tiburon Boulevard from Lyford Drive, without
having to stop for pedestrians. It was suggested that perhaps this same measure should be
CART Meeting Notes
February 10, 2012
taken at other school intersections, such as Avenida Miraflores and Tiburon Boulevard.
It was also suggested that the Town should paint the side of the street in front of schools
to accommodate existing and any additional school buses, in order to keep other traffic
(vehicle drop offs) separate from this area. There would appear to be opportunities for
this type of infrastructure improvement at all three schools within the district.
Sandy Paine, Transportation Supervisor for Novato thought that it was refreshing to see
the group excited about transportation and issues which surround it. She indicated that
buses are still the safest form of transportation for children, and that changing parent’s
views on allowing their children to ride the bus to school is very important. She highly
recommended the group contact Traffix, to gain more insight on how helpful this firm
really is and has been for other communities.
Robert Betts, of Marin Transit, indicated that if there is an opportunity for Marin Transit
to help with a solution, they would like to assist. He indicated that they are currently
conducting a transit analysis, and recognizes that there is only one bus which services
Tiburon (#19).
Solutions to Consider:
 Third party subsidy
 Better routes
 Create “Bike Pools”
 Age Compatibility – would bus monitors help?
 Separate bus for Reed School so little kids feel safer (some parents want siblings to ride together)
 Research “Traffix”
 Stagger bell times (they haven’t changed in 20 years per John Frick)
 Property tax on Belvedere/Tiburon only – sell it as a traffic reduction measure
 Shorter sign-up lead time for riding the bus (allow sign-ups in spring and fall)
 Convince High School students to ride Marin Transit
Questions to Consider:
 How many buses would be optimal?
 What about buses to Redwood and St. Hilary’s?
 How do we get a proper route analysis? (trying to get optimal # buses)
 What routes would be optimal (assuming a “clean slate” approach)
 Can stacking lanes be extended at Rock Hill for the turns to St. Hilary’s? Involve St. Hilary’s
Principle in conversation
Next Steps
John Frick will provide Susan Moorehead with a list of student addresses in order to come up
with preliminary ideas of how to create efficient and effective bus routes for RUSD. This will in
turn help provide an approximate number of buses to add.
Chief Cronin will research the City of Danville program and how it successfully eliminated 1,500
cars off the roadways during peak school times and report back to the group.
The discussion on buses will continue at the next meeting; however, the meeting may be
postponed if individuals need more time to work on the two tasks to be discussed at the next
CART Meeting Notes
February 10, 2012
2-9-12 Email from Isolde Wilson
Hi Peggy and Jim - I'm sorry I can't be at the meeting tomorrow, I know it is an important one.
Bryn Argov who is on the PTA Board will attend instead. I want to pass on these two
"brainstorming" ideas about buses, these aren't official PTA ideas, just my own:
1. Provide less yellow school bus service to Del Mar and try to work with Marin Transit's
schedule to take care of Del Mar. Maybe even ECM students could be taken by Marin Transit to
Blackie's and get picked up there instead of at campus. Then the yellow school buses could serve
lower grades better.
2. Have towns contribute to bus costs. One way might be to have a rebate system, where a
resident would pay the full bus cost but they could apply for a partial rebate from the town.
Tiburon residents could get rebates from Tiburon, Belvedere residents could get rebates from
Prepared by Laurie Tyler, Associate Planner for Tiburon
February 13, 2012
CART Meeting Notes
February 10, 2012