Seattle Public Schools to introduce neighborhood-based transportation zones this fall

News Release From Seattle Public Schools

For Immediate Release:  Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Contact:  Teresa Wippel, Communications, (206) 252-0203

Starting this fall, Seattle Public Schools elementary and K-8 students attending their neighborhood school will have shorter bus rides, thanks to new transportation zones approved by the Seattle School Board earlier this year.

 The goal behind these neighborhood-based transportation zones is to streamline bus routes for attendance-area elementary and K-8 schools, decreasing the bus ride time for neighborhood schools to 25 minutes or less and saving an estimated $4 million by using fewer buses and less gas. To accomplish this, some buses will cover three routes in the morning and afternoon instead of the more traditional two routes.

“With more efficient routing, buses are less likely to encounter the traffic delays that occur on longer routes, so families will find departure and arrival times to be more reliable,” said Tom Bishop, SPS transportation manager. “In addition, the more streamlined routes will also benefit the environment by taking up to 80 buses off the roads and reducing the district’s carbon footprint.”

Transportation zones will include the entire attendance area of a school, extending to areas within a 1.25-mile radius from the school in each middle school service area. Existing walk zones to schools would still apply.

 As a result of the plan, an estimated 3,600 elementary students who received transportation in the 2010-11 school year now reside outside of the new transportation zones. They will still be eligible for the following transportation:

 Students who live within a half of a mile from the Transportation Zone boundary can walk to a yellow bus stop within the zone. Seats will be allocated on a space-available basis.

  • Community stops will be created so students can catch a yellow bus near an attendance area school and take it to another school.
  • Students who are no longer eligible for transportation will receive a guaranteed assignment to their attendance area school, if requested.

 School bus routes are assigned in late summer after student assignments are complete. As a result, families should expect to receive a letter with their route information in late August, prior to the start of the school year.

 Families looking for the transportation zone nearest their school can visit the Planned Transportation Zones page here: Additional information can also be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page at

 Two other transportation-related reminders:

√ Families should work with their students to prepare them for riding the bus. This includes visiting the bus stop with your child, practicing the walk to and from the bus stop, and discussing what your child should do if he/she misses the school bus.

√ For the first two weeks of school (through Sept. 16) all buses will be running late – it’s part of our effort to ensure students are on the correct bus by checking them in as they board the bus and off as they depart.

Here are attached  maps showing safe walking maps and transportation zone maps for the schools in your area that will be affected by the new Transportation Zones this fall.  I have also attached our list of frequently asked questions about the new zones, community stops and related information as an FYI.




2 Comments on “Seattle Public Schools to introduce neighborhood-based transportation zones this fall”

  1. I checked the map for Broadview Thomnpson and the walk zone includes Greenwood up to 145th. Greenwood doesn’t have any sidewalks north of 135th and it isn’t safe for adults to walk on Greenwood let alone students.

  2. Response provided from Seattle Schools spokesperson.

    Here is the response from our transportation folks.

    I talked to Brian Dougherty of SDOT and our Safe Routes to School Coordinator and here is his response.

    Parent is correct. The missing sidewalks on Greenwood are on our list of planned future Capital Improvement Projects but there is no funding at this time. (From SDOT)

    If the child is walking down the west side they might be able to use Palatine Ave N which has fewer cars. On the east side the blocks are so long there doesn’t appear to be any option other than walking on the shoulder of Greenwood. I’ve heard there’s a pathway to access the school from the east but I’ve never seen where it actually goes.

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