Watch the Insanity of American School Drop-Off

The double-wide snake of cars in the parking lot didn't solve the problem. Via David Bruce/YouTube
The double-wide snake of cars in the parking lot didn't solve the problem. Via David Bruce/YouTube

This video nicely encapsulates how ridiculous American school transportation has become in the era of parental chauffeurs.

It shows an experiment by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to keep school drop-off at Unionville Elementary School — located in a sprawling, semi-rural area outside Charlotte — from backing up onto the road that runs by it:

The experimental technique consists of the double lane of cars snaking through the parking lot. That was not enough, however, to keep traffic from spilling over. You can see the queue reach the roadway just before 7 a.m. and spill over onto the highway soon after. Also notice the five or so employees (or volunteers) helping get kids safely from the car door to the school entrance. That whole process takes almost an hour.

David Bruce, who posted the video, says the NCDOT pilot was not deemed successful enough to continue permanently.

According to Bruce, Unionville does have school buses, but many parents think they come too early, so they drop their children off on their way to work. The school draws from a radius of about 15 miles, so not all kids could walk or bike even if it were safe to do so.

From the looks of it, no kids can walk or bike to Unionville Elementary school. Better planning can help avoid this kind of situation in many cases. Schools trying to avoid transportation headaches can site the school in a relatively walkable area, near more homes. Sidewalks and bike lanes, of course, also help.

  • belaroo

    Unbelievable. Very good example of how grownups really don’t know what’s good for them.

  • Mursu

    The shame of having to ride the bus to school. And no, I am not trolling or exaggerating. This started being the case 20 years ago, with bus-riding kids being ridiculed for riding the bus and has definitely only gotten worse over the past two decades.

    It’s not laziness, it’s worse. It’s peer pressure and social acceptance, the two building blocks of the high-school existence. Seems like it is expanding to elementary school as well.

  • megalass

    We have a new school in a new walk-friendly “new urbanism” neighborhood nearby. School buses are available for more distant kids. Yet every afternoon, there’s still a huge line of cars outside. Ridiculous.
    Given the demographics of the school, I suspect a lot of these parents are ferrying their kids to various after-school “enrichment” and athletic activities: because God forbid a kid should just go home and play or read or something.

  • whittx

    But only if it is a neighborhood school. If it is a charter or magnet school built into a walkable neighborhood you encounter the same problems.

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