Learn all about our Walking School Bus!

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  • Q & A

    1. What is Walking Week?
    2. When is Walking Week taking place?
    3. How will families meet up to start the afternoon routes?
    4. Why is SPARK holding this event? And why is it a week instead of a day?
    5. How do I figure out which route to takHow do I figure out which route to take and how do I join a route?
    6. Do I have to take the whole route?
    7. I like to drive my child to school and need to get to work right after drop-off. Why should I use the Park & Walk area instead?
    8. Do I need to walk or bike with my child on a route?
    9. How will I meet up with other families on a route? How will I know if a route is running on
      schedule?
    10. My child is in Kindergarten, but all of these routes end at SPARK’s main campus. Why don’t you have routes going to the K Center?
    11. What if it rains on one or more of these days?
    12. My child usually takes the bus in the morning, and I don’t have time to walk in. Why should I consider walking or biking instead?
    13. Since I haven’t walked a route before, how will I know where to go?
    14. How will the Walking School Bus routes be continuing next year?
    15. Can I walk on the ORANGE ROUTE or bike on the PURPLE ROUTE, BLUE ROUTE, or RED ROUTE?
    16. If I bike to SPARK, where do I park my child’s bike?
    17. Why is this event being called “green?”
    18. How can my child and I be prepared to walk or bike to school?
    19. I’d like to help with this event! How can I get involved?


    1. What is Walking Week?

      At the end of May, SPARK is holding another Walking Week to celebrate the end of the school year. From May 20-May 26, parents and guardians are encouraged to volunteer to lead Walking School Bus routes to help other SPARK families walk or bike both to and from SPARK’s Main Campus. The routes, which are between 1.0 and 1.9 miles long, were introduced back in March during Pilot Walking Week. Volunteer to take the morning routes and the afternoon routes.

      The four Walking School Bus routes have timetables so that SPARK families may easily walk or bike together to and from school. All routes were designed to reach the SPARK Parking Lot on Briarcliff Rd around 7:30am in the morning and are led by parent/guardian volunteers. Info for the routes is below.

     

    Route Name  Route Starting Location Start Time Distance and Total Time
    PURPLE ROUTE   North Highland 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

    WalkingBusImg

    SPARK also has 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.


    1. When is Walking Week taking place?
      Walking Week is being held every day from Friday, May 20th until Thursday, May 26th. This event is being held both in the morning (from 6:55am until 7:30am) and the afternoon (from 2:45pm until 3:25pm) for the final five days of the 2021-2022 school year.

    2.  How will families meet to start the afternoon routes?

      We’ll put out signs in the SPARK Parking Lot so that it’s clear where everyone should meet up and start back after school. All of the routes will leave SPARK Main Campus around 2:50pm. The signs will be in these locations:

      • PURPLE ROUTE walkers will meet in the grassy area at the east end of the parking lot
      • BLUE ROUTE walkers will meet in the dirt area just inside the SPARK entrance by Briarcliff Rd
      • RED ROUTE walkers will meet at the east end of the parking lot near the steps by the gym
      • ORANGE ROUTE bikers will meet near the bike racks by the Front Office

    SPARK Lot

    1. Why is SPARK holding this event? And why is it a week instead of a day?
      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.

     

    1. How do I figure out which route to take and how do I join a route?
      Review the route maps shown below, which list route recommendations based on your child’s assigned bus. The three walking routes (Purple Route, Blue Route, and Red Route) each have three official stops where parents should check the time to make sure that they are not running ahead of schedule. (The Orange Route does not have stops because it would be difficult to check the time while biking.)

      A family may join any of the four routes to school at any point along the way, not just at a stop.

    2. Do I have to take the whole route?
      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.

     

    1. I like to drive my child to school and need to get to work right after drop-off. Why should I use the Park & Walk area instead?
      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.

    2. Do I need to walk or bike with my child on a route?
      We suggest that parents and guardians accompany their children to and from school unless they are comfortable having their child walk with another adult or on their own. We want all children to safely make their way to and from school and don’t want any adult to feel overwhelmed being in charge of a large group of kids.

    3. How will I meet up with other families on a route? How will I know if a route is running on schedule?
      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. Links to join these routes on Remind are below.

      PURPLE ROUTE

      BLUE ROUTE

      RED ROUTE

      ORANGE ROUTE

     

    1. My child is in Kindergarten, but all of these routes end at SPARK’s main campus. Why don’t you have routes going to the K Center?
      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.

      Unfortunately, there will not be a bus available for Kindergarteners to the K Center as there was during Pilot Walking Week. Families with Kindergarteners must get them to the K Center.

    1. What if it rains on one or more of these days?
      The routes will still be running every day, rain or shine. Please bring an umbrella and raincoat if you are concerned about inclement weather.

     

    1. My child usually takes the bus in the morning, and I don’t have time to walk in. Why should I consider walking or biking instead?
      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.

     

    1. Since I haven’t walked a route before, how will I know where to go?
      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.

     

    1. How will the Walking School Bus routes be continuing next year?
      ince Pilot Walking Week was a tremendous success, we will be promoting walking and biking in the 2022-2023 school year by having daily online sign-ups for volunteers to take the routes to and from school. The feedback from the survey showed that most parents would like SPARKY and SPARK teachers and staff to participate regularly as well, so we will be inviting Principal Harness and other guests to join families on Fridays. In addition, we are continuing to work with SPARK on making changes to promote walking around the school.

     

    1. Can I walk on the ORANGE ROUTE or bike on the PURPLE ROUTE, BLUE ROUTE, or RED ROUTE?
      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.

     

    1. If I bike to SPARK, where do I park my child’s bike?
      Please park your child’s bike on one of the green bike racks near the Front Office. You may pick up the bike at any time if your child won’t be biking home in the afternoon at 2:45pm.

     

    1. Why is this event being called “green?”
      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.

     

    1. How can my child and I be prepared to walk or bike to school?
      We recommend that you and your child wear bright clothing while on these routes to easily be seen on the way to SPARK

     

    1. I’d like to help with this event! How can I get involved?

      Please volunteer to lead a route from a starting point! You can volunteer to walk or bike one of the morning routes or one of the afternoon routes. Please contact Tracy Janov (tjanov@gmail.com) if you have any questions.

    Please contact Tracy Janov (tjanov@gmail.com) for more information.

Park & Ride

Blue Route

Orange Route

Purple Route

Red Route