Driving Little Miss Drittklässler

Vancouver Rant

Oh how all the car traffic around Vancouver schools annoys me. For the past several years, the traffic around St George’s has easily been the most dangerous part of my bike commute, but it’s not like public schools are any better.

The whole notion of running bike routes past schools (surely intended to enable kids to ride to school by bike) is a bit of a farce, it seems, as few kids ride, and the bike routes are clogged by parents dropping off children made even worse by the popularity of minivans and SUVs among parents.

Berlin Any Different?

I’m not biking in Berlin, so I don’t have that perspective on school traffic here. And, obviously, my observations are mostly based on the girls’ schools.

But, I’m pretty confident in saying that students in Em’s school are not driven to school. Either for drop-off or pick-up, there are no cars waiting in front, nor do students emerge/enter cars in any number. And that despite high schools not being run on any kind of strict cachement area, so that Em’s fellow students are not necessarily or generally from the immediate neighbourhood. There is a good number of bikes (I’d guess around 30-50 at a school of around 1,000.

Ingm’s elementary school is a bit different as the cachement area is the dominant principle for school assignment. Ingm probably has among the longest routes to school among her fellow students, though this will reduce to 7 minutes (as we recently timed) when we move for the second half of the year.

So, the dominant “vehicle” at her school is the scooter. Yes, there are specific racks for scooter lock-up as well. Very cool!

There do seem to be some driving parents, but I can’t imagine that anyone would do that regularly. The streets around the school are so narrow that only a single lane remains for traffic as cars are parked on both sides. Since they are nominally two-way streets, the intersections are always clogged with cars waiting for some other car to exit a block so that they can go in the other direction. Basically there is no traffic flowing.


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