Walking/Biking School Bus Routes

  • What is Pilot Walking Week?

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    At the end of March, SPARK is holding a Pilot Walking Week in which we test out four new Walking School Bus Routes. A Walking School Bus is a group of children that walk to school together in the morning with their parents. We have created routes with timetables so that families can meet up on the way to school. All routes have been designed to reach the SPARK Parking Lot on Briarcliff Rd around 7:30am and will be lead by parent/guardian volunteers. Here is info for the routes:

    Route Name             Route Starting Location                               Route Starting Time    Route Distance and Total Time
    PURPLE ROUTE      North Highland Ave and Amsterdam Ave        7:02am                       1.1 miles, 28 min walk
    BLUE ROUTE          Inman Middle School                                   6:55am                       1.4 miles, 35 min walk
    RED ROUTE            Poncey-Highland Playground                        7:05am                       1.0 miles, 25 min walk
    ORANGE ROUTE     10th Street and Charles Allen Dr                   7:10am                        1.9 miles, 20 min bike ride

    SPARK will also have a Park & Walk area on St. Charles Place and St. Augustine Place, two streets that intersect Briarcliff Rd just south of SPARK. For parents that choose to drive, they can park on either of these roads and then walk the 0.1 - 0.4 mile distance to SPARK. After parking, it should only take about 5 minutes to walk to school, including crossing Briarcliff Rd at St. Charles Place.

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  • When is this taking place?

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    Pilot Walking Week is being held Monday, March 28th - Friday, April 1st. The route times vary, but this event is being held from 6:55am until 7:45am every day that week.  Choose which day you would like to participate in depending on the route and the proximity to your home. 

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  • Are there incentives for participating?

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    SPARKY and a special guest will be leading every route one day of this week. Here is when you can see these special guests:

    Day                         Guest                                    Route                          Starting Location

    Monday, 3/28         Ms. Bringslid                           ORANGE ROUTE      10th St and Charles Allen Drive

    Tuesday, 3/29        Councilmember Alex Wan      BLUE ROUTE            Inman MS at Virg. Ave & Ponce de Leon Pl. 

    Wednesday, 3/30   Principal Harness                   PURPLE ROUTE       North Highland Ave and Amsterdam Ave

    Thursday, 3/31       Councilman Amir Farokhi       RED ROUTE              Poncey-Highland Playground along North Ave

    Friday, 4/1              Sherry Galvez, her dog Theo  North Highland Park   North Highland Ave and St. Charles Place

    We'll also have fruit for the kids when they get to school and posters where parents can take their child's photo. Plus we'll have raffle prizes for the kids that participate.

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  • Why is SPARK holding this event? and why is it a week instead of a day?

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    Especially since the Omicron wave, many more parents have been driving their children to school, with estimates as high as half of parents driving into SPARK's parking lot. We want parents to have another way to bring their children to school that doesn't involve bumper-to-bumper traffic in the parking lot and on Briarcliff Rd.

    In past years, SPARK has held Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day, as well as Green Transportation Day. These were fun days for everyone, but didn't have much of an impact on changing how kids get to school. We are hoping that by making this a full week, not only will more people be able to participate, but SPARK families will be more likely to get into a longer-term habit of walking and biking to school.

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  • How do I determine which route to take?

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    Of the nearly 90 bus stop locations for SPARK kids, these four routes get to within two blocks of most stops. Based on your child's assigned bus, here are the suggested routes. (Keep in mind that the ORANGE ROUTE is a biking route because of its length.)

    Assigned Bus       Suggested Route
    635                       ORANGE ROUTE
    670                       RED ROUTE
    719                       ORANGE ROUTE
    738                       BLUE ROUTE or PURPLE ROUTE
    16-809                  BLUE ROUTE or ORANGE ROUTE

    19-923                  PURPLE ROUTE
    20-969                  ORANGE ROUTE
    20-970                  BLUE ROUTE or ORANGE ROUTE

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  • Do I have to take the whole route?

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    No, like a school bus, you can join at any point along the route. Consult the route timetables to find a time and place that's convenient for you.

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  • Why should I use the Park & Walk area instead?

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    Many parents like to drive their child to school and then immediately need to get to work.  Believe it or not, you may actually save time parking and walking in with your child rather than going through the SPARK parking lot. Many parents are already doing this instead of waiting in the traffic on Briarcliff Rd. A few months ago, GDOT shortened the cycle time for the light at Briarcliff Rd and St. Charles Place during school hours. This means that you'll only have to wait at most one minute to get a walk signal to cross Briarcliff.

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  • Do I need to walk or bike in with my child?

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    Yes, we are asking all parents and guardians to accompany their children on the way to school. This way all children can safely make their way to school and no adult will feel overwhelmed being in charge of a large group of kids.

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  • How will I meet up with other families on a route? How do I know if a route is running on schedule?

    Posted by:

    Like a bus route, each of these routes has a timetable showing when we expect a group to reach a certain point on the way to school.

    You can also use the Remind App to give and receive text updates on a specific route each day. We will have parent volunteers taking each route from the starting point and sending out Remind updates as they go.

    Here are the links to join the Remind routes:

    PURPLE ROUTE

    BLUE ROUTE

    RED ROUTE

    ORANGE ROUTE

     

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  • Do we have routes going to the K Center?

    Posted by:

    The K Center is not as close to SPARK families because of its location on Briarcliff Rd. With the amount of traffic on Briarcliff Rd and the narrow sidewalks, the K Center is just not that walkable for families.

    However, please don't feel like your Kindergartener has been left out! Any Kindergarteners who walk to the main SPARK campus this week will be able to take a special bus to the K Center. Dr. Toney will be assisting to make sure that all Kindergarteners make it onto this bus, which will leave from the bus loop on Ponce de Leon Ave at 7:35am. To get there from the Briarcliff Rd parking lot, walk your child down the parking lot sidewalk, then go right to go down past the gym and the cafeteria to reach the bus lot.

    Parents may also choose to drop of kids at the Main Campus and then walk down Briarcliff Rd to the K Center with their Kindergartner.

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  • What if it rains on one or more of these days?

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    The routes will still be running every day, rain or shine. Please bring an umbrella and raincoat if you are concerned about inclement weather.

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  • Why should I consider walking and biking instead of putting my kid on a bus or driving them?

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    Most SPARK families are within 1.5 miles of school, a short enough distance to conveniently walk or bike. Research shows that children who walk or bike to school are more alert and ready to learn, even having increased concentration levels for up to four hours. They're healthier too because they are getting more physical exercise and are more engaged with their streets and neighborhoods.

    By choosing to walk to school, you'll help reduce the traffic congestion around SPARK and will be getting exercise at the same time! You'll also be able to meet other SPARK families and spend quality time with your child in the morning.

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  • Since I have not walked the route before, how will I know where to go?

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    Please watch the videos that will  be posted in the SPARK-e in which SPARKY goes on each of the routes. Look for signs and chalk markings to stay on the recommended path to school. Use the timetables to meet other families along the way if you're not taking the full route.

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  • Why is this being called a pilot week?

    Posted by:

    If enough SPARK families take part in this, we will work to have volunteers regularly walk or bike on these routes in the future. We'd also try to have Principal Harness and other SPARK teachers join families on these routes at least once per month. We'd like to push SPARK to make other changes to promote walking around the school as well.

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  • Can I walk on the Orange Route or bike on the Purple Route, Blue Route or Red Route?

    Posted by:

    You can, but it will be difficult to stay with the main group, which will be moving at a different speed from you. The route timetables assume you are biking on the ORANGE ROUTE and walking on the other routes.

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  • If I bike to SPARK, where do I park my child's bike?

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    We will be blocking off at least 5 feet of space in the parking lot next to the sidewalk to create additional space for both bikers and walkers. (This will not affect the number of parking spaces available.) Please walk your bike along this lane and then help your child park their bike on one of the green bike racks near the Front Office.

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  • How can my child and I be prepared to walk or bike to school?

    Posted by:

    Keep in mind that Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday, March 13th, so sunrise times during Pilot Walking Week won't be until about 7:30am. We recommend that you and your child wear bright clothing while on these routes to easily be seen on the way to SPARK. To learn more road safety tips, watch this video by Georgia Safe Routes to School.

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  • Why is this event being called "Green"?

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    Cars produce a lot of emissions that pollute our air and harm our respiratory systems, especially those of children. Children regularly exposed to these pollutants are more likely to suffer from asthma and other ailments, along with impacted neurological development. Parents that drive their children into the school parking lot often idle their cars for 5 to 10 minutes, which wastes gas and produces toxic fumes.

    Being near the intersection of Ponce de Leon Ave and Briarcliff Rd, SPARK is one of the most heavily trafficked schools in Atlanta. Both of these roads have at least 25,000 vehicles on them every day. Trying to drive to the parking lot on Briarcliff Rd is not only frustratingly slow, but also results in further backing up traffic. This makes it difficult and less safe for families that walk or bike to school to cross Briarcliff because the crosswalks often get blocked by vehicles.


    We can't make this traffic go away, but we can choose to not add to it by walking or biking to SPARK.

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  • I'd like to help with this event! How can I get involved?

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    You can volunteer to lead a route by committing to walk from the route starting point for one or more days. Anyone who volunteers to lead a route for all five days will get a SPARK t-shirt and also one for their child! You can also volunteer to greet families near school. Please contact Tracy Janov (tjanov@gmail.com) for more information.

    Your child's teacher will be sending out a survey to help us track interest on each route during Pilot Walking Week. Remember to fill out the survey, which will automatically enter your child into a raffle to win prizes.

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Blue Route

Orange Route

Purple Route

Red Route

Park & Ride

Last Modified on March 14, 2022