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Seattle Public Schools announces new transportation zones

Elementary and K-8 students in Seattle Public Schools will follow new transportation zones when school starts two weeks from today. The new transportation plan is designed to make bus rides shorter, saving $4 million by using fewer buses and less gas. Bus rides will be 25 minutes or less, and some buses will cover three routes instead of the traditional two each morning and afternoon.

The transportation plan map for Greenwood Elementary School, showing walk zones in orange and bus zones in yellow.
“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,” Tom Bishop, SPS transportation manager, said in a press release. “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.

You can find the list of PDFs of each school’s transportation plan here.
Here are direct links to the PDFs for schools drawing from Phinney Ridge and Greenwood:

  • Daniel Bagley Elementary School
  • Greenwood Elementary School
  • Viewlands Elementary School
  • West Woodland Elementary School
  • Whittier Elementary School

You can also find links to safe walk zones for each school here. Each PDF has arrows showing the preferred safe walking route, and lists where every crossing guard will be (both Adult Guards and School Patrol).
Seattle Public Schools is also encouraging families to prepare new students for riding the bus, by 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 or she misses the school bus.
Also, school buses will be running later than normal for the first two weeks of school, as drivers check in each student as they board, to make sure they’re on the correct bus, and checking them off as they get off the bus.
Bus arrival and departure times for each school are listed here. And a reference guide for every question you might have about riding the bus is here.