Which Mill Valley School Has the Worst Traffic Jams?

With three days of drop-offs and pick-ups behind us, we want to know how your school commutes have been so far. And which school has the biggest backup and what can be done to fix it?

Most of is just good old stomach butterflies. But plenty of parents and non-parent local residents alike are less than excited to get back to the traffic mess created during drop-off and pick-up times at local public schools.

Mill Valley certainly has its fair share of students who ride or walk to school. But the car lines at many local schools can stretch down the block and then some, sometimes causing anxious parents to be overly aggressive.

With the at five of the six schools, , there are bound to be some extra headaches.

Tim Ryan, the district's director of maintenance and operations, said the district is deploying a pair of traffic guards at , where the to has resulted in a shift in the drop-off and pick-up flow.

The traffic guards, from Bright Star Security in Novato, are being used each day this week and the district will evaluate how frequently to deploy them in the coming weeks, Ryan said.

So which Mill Valley school do you think has the worst traffic during drop-off and pick-up times? We'll get you started:

And do you have any crazy school traffic stories from this week yet? Do you have any suggestions that would alleviate problems (other than somehow paying for school buses)? Let us know in the comments below. 

While you're at it, send a shout-out to your favorite crossing guard. Most of them are worth their weight in gold, right?

One other thing: Make sure to participate in the Safe Routes to School program and consider walking or biking with your kids to school if you have time — for the health of it and to help alleviate traffic.

Here's what else is happening on Mill Valley Patch:

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Chas Blackford September 13, 2012 at 03:46 PM
The solo drivers in ginormo SUVs bombing up and down Loring Ave. (always in the middle of road) on their way up to the Mt. Tam private school are a sight a(and menace) to be avoided.
Magoo September 13, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Many people I know who live on the way to Mt Tam school all agree that those parents are the most dangerous drivers around. Look out man, woman, child, animals. Maybe they will go over a cliff someday.
mary alexandre September 13, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Car Pooling, car pooling! Duh...
Kathy Mcleod September 13, 2012 at 06:28 PM
This year I've accepted the job of Supervisor for American Guard Services in the Southern Marin School Districts. I'm riding around to the sites by bike because it is much faster to reach all the sites via bike path and bike route than getting stuck in traffic. So far I've noticed that If more kids biked things would be less congested. I have been so impressed with the amount of bikers going to the Middle School and to Tam Valley Elementary!! Even though the path is under construction it is great to see the coordinated effort with the newly placed crossing guards at Almonte and Flamingo. On the flip side I was sorry to see how few cyclists are going to Edna, even though they have a bike path leading straight up to the school. This could be because there were barricades blocking the bike path during the first of the week. Not today though so maybe taking those down will encourage more to ride. Edna also has more traffic than any of the schools I've observed and must admit that the traffic security has helped a lot with keeping the traffic flowing through when it gets backed up to E. Blithedale.
Sylvia "Chipps" Newsom Barsky September 13, 2012 at 07:10 PM
As I drive by Old Mill School every day, I have to say that I am amazed at how many times the stop sign is run, and how Mom's still block traffic to double park. The crossing guards are quite good, but because of the heavy traffic, Mom's and residents get impatient and try all sorts of maneuvers to get past the school. Whatever happened to kids riding their bikes and car pooling? How about just walking to school? When I went to Old Mill, I use to walk every day with the other kids and it was fun (most of the time!).
Citizen September 13, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Thank you, Kathy, for your work. I agree that biking is faster than driving, but we need to make the streets safer for children who bike. I know you are doing all you can, but I'll share our experience. Biking to the Middle School for us involves taking East Blithedale (!! very very narrow) to Sycamore or Miller (heavier faster traffic) to Sycamore. It is unpleasant and feels unsafe until you enter Sycamore. Biking on the sidewalk is frowned upon because of pedestrians and business entrances, but no way is my child biking on Blithedale with cars going 25 mph mere inches away. My older son was hit (but not injured) on Blithedale--there just isn't enough room to share the street. A related issue is backpack weight. The Middle School has eliminated lockers and now requires kids to change clothes for PE. The result is that backpacks are fuller and heavier than ever and uncomfortable when biking. For now, we carpool, which is great. Even if you can do it a few days a week, or mornings or afternoons only, every little bit helps. It is more fun for the kids, too. I believe there is now a bus stop for the Middle Schoolers near Safeway along Miller, and that is something I need to get more information about.
Rico September 14, 2012 at 01:26 AM
I would say Edna Maguire creates the most traffic jams in the afternoons. Trying to exit the Alto Center at around 2:30 takes forever. It must be all the people sporting their kids in their cars to school and back. The MVSD used to operate their own buses to Edna (which was a junior high school wen I attended it), and traffic was not bad at all in that area . But the buses only ran uptown, and us who lived in the hills hoofed it or rode bikes. I remember some very cold mornings walking down to school, but I never minded that much. Back in the old days, no kid would want to be seen having their parents drive them to school, now it is the exact opposite.
Rico September 14, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I might add that we never ever carried backpacks in junior high school. Our teachers told us that we would be getting enough homework in high school. Actually, most of us carried nothing home from school, bring a lunch in a paper bag in the morning, and not even bring a coat, so we didn't have to lug it around all day once we got to school. The schools were heated in those days, and a coat was only necessary for the morning trip to school. But if it was raining, we got a little wet on the way home. I don't ever remember seeing any boys sporting umbrellas either.
Jack September 14, 2012 at 04:19 AM
I asked a Mom why she drove her kid three blocks to school the other day. She replied that she'd be ostracized from the other Moms for appearing to be unprotective of her child. Paranoia, it appears, loves company. I'm pretty sure these Moms are consuming a lot of commercial media.
MissyT September 14, 2012 at 05:17 PM
We walk every morning to Old Mill. The 20 minute walk is great for all of us. The little ones, made a little tired by the walk, lose any anxiety about the new school day and it makes for good "family time". And the walk back up the mountain is healthy for me. The afternoons are a bit more difficult with 3 different pick up times spread between 2 schools...
Anne Tique September 14, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Since, by law, we have open enrollment (since sometime in the early 80's) within each district, we have many students attending other than their neighborhood school. When my kids began in the district 18 years ago, the kids on our small street represented each of the four public elementary schools open at the time. Since siblings had priority - even those from across town - one's closest school often didn't have space. Ours were not the only kids who lived within a few blocks of Park who could not could not get in and made the trek to Edna. A friend of mine, living way up Summit had to take her children across town - and across hwy 101 - to Strawberry Point. All of this contributes mightily to the traffic snarls in the morning and afternoon and creates a barrier for children getting themselves to and fro' as well.
Cindy Ash September 15, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Is there someplace we can get information about bike paths? I would like to be able to start using them more, but I am an inexperienced biker with kids too young to be trusted to ride safely on streets (even residential streets are hairy when we try it) but we're never going to get any better by staying in our car.
william luke rice September 17, 2012 at 06:27 AM
Would be nice to see the bike lanes expanded, wide enough to encourage more riders, including children and families! Would add some extra character to the town!
Uncle Fishbits September 20, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Definitely Reed in Tiburon. I mean, it's all MV kids. =^D


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