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POLL: Nearby Tomlinson Students Encouraged to Walk

Officials are monitoring bus routes and working on redesigning the school's parking lot; in the meantime, students can help by going on foot or by bus.

Between the and the , Fairfield’s middle school students - especially those who attend - have been having a rough school year.

Parents protest the lengthy rides by picking up and dropping off their kids. Education officials urge students to use the district’s buses rather than clog the roads and bus loops.

The bottom line?

“We need a solution that will separate the car traffic from the bus traffic,” Superintendent of Schools David Title told Patch on Monday.

“We do have space for all our buses to line up at our middle schools; the mixing of the cars and the buses are the biggest concern at this time.”

The district-wide, long-term solution is to adjust the bus routes to shorten the time children spend on buses so they are encouraged to use the system. Title said officials are monitoring the time it takes the buses to actually run their routes versus the time set on their schedules. Officials are prepared to “adjust if necessary," he said.

“We constantly adjust bus routes throughout the year to smooth out our routes and this year is no exception,” Title assured.

A long-term solution for Tomlinson, the school facing the worst traffic problems, is to fix the lower-level parking lot so there is more room for parents who find it necessary to pick up and drop off their children. The town’s engineer Bill Hurley, police and education officials are working together to come up with a redesign plan, Title said.

Until that happens, Title’s advice persists: If a bus comes down your street, get your kids on it.

No bus? “We encourage those within walking distance to walk,” Title said.

Trish Pavoni October 04, 2011 at 11:39 AM
Exactly which students on which roads do you think can walk to Tomlinson? The new feeder schools to Tomlinson are Stratfield, Burr and McKinley? Which streets are within walking distance? NONE! And for the record, my daughter gets to school 10 minutes late riding the bus - everyday, everyday!
Fairfield Resident October 04, 2011 at 11:42 AM
Solution: If your home is on a school bus route.....your child / children should ride on it. The taxpayers in this town are providing you this service and it is a complete waste of our money if it is not utilized to it's fullest extent.
jpc October 04, 2011 at 11:51 AM
I think it's within every parents rights to drive their children to school, wether they are on the bus route or not. Just because a service is offered doesn't mean it is mandatory. I have zero confidence in the bus drivers around here and if my child wasn't within walking distance, I'd be driving him, too!
jpc October 04, 2011 at 11:52 AM
The Sherman students that are currently grandfathered in are really the only ones within walking distance.
Allison October 04, 2011 at 12:01 PM
If we actually had neighborhood schools that would be a great solution and wouldn't it be great if the kids could walk to each their friends houses afterschool as well instead of having kids who live clear across town from each other at the same middle school have the ones who live on the next step together - guess that is too simple.
Jim Eastwood October 04, 2011 at 12:06 PM
Good Morning Fairfield It is a GREAT IDEA !!!1 If Kids of this age cann't pay attention to Traffic rules and common sense then the Parents have failed. You are a GREEN Generation Right ???? Then walk instead of Ride !!!! Enjoy Life a Bit and stop complaining because YOU Put these people in Power !!! Let them walk !!!!!!! and stop complaining !!!
pmihaylo October 04, 2011 at 01:05 PM
If you look at the district map, you'd see why there aren't many walkers to TMS. http://fairfieldschools.org/downloads/trans/districtMaps_8-16-2011.pdf
RP October 04, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Well said. Plain, simple and on point. Thank you!
RP October 04, 2011 at 02:53 PM
Good morning Jim Eastwood! Before you start screaming at us about being green, look at what schools feed in to Tomlinson and what the distances are.
Michael October 04, 2011 at 03:01 PM
Well, I live in the Stratfield section of town and the fact that my children have to sit on a bus for well over an hour each way is totally unreasonable. I am also a tax payer funding the school bus system but we will be picking our children up from school. Just because it is available doesn't make it mandatory. The whole thing is silly.
R. Ludlowe October 04, 2011 at 03:52 PM
its about the grandfathered 7-8 graders who were Sherman students and can theoretically walk to Tomlinson. There are also 6-7-8 graders from the Riverfield district that can walk to RLMS.
DSS October 04, 2011 at 04:22 PM
The BOE made the mistakes and now they want the parents to solve their problem. Again, the BOE memebers were warned and now all the consequences are coming to fruition. Like our Federal government, no common sense was used in making decisions only personal agendas.
Caitlin Mazzola (Editor) October 04, 2011 at 04:40 PM
@ R. Ludlowe - thank you for clarifying that. When I talked to the superintendent, we focused on Tomlinson since traffic is the worst there - but his advice is district wide to help reduce traffic from parents dropping off/picking up.
Fairfield Resident October 04, 2011 at 05:33 PM
Thank you jpc for contributing to the unecessary traffic congestion in our quaint New England village.
Fairfield Resident October 04, 2011 at 05:35 PM
Thank you Michael for contributing to the unecessary traffic congestion in our quaint New England village.
R. Ludlowe October 04, 2011 at 05:41 PM
You'll have to forgive Fairfield Resident. He's living in an alternate universe where Fairfield is somehow still small and his IQ is 3 digits.
DSS October 04, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Again, Fairfield Resident you are missing the point. Traveling 3 miles to school on a bus that takes 45 minutes to an hour is ridiculous. The good thing is your grasp of the situation qualifies you to become a board member.
jpc October 04, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Fairfield Resident- Thank you for the accusation, but both of my children walk to school. However, I have every right to drive them if I feel like it and I would if they were bussed across town. Something tells me you don't have any children in the schools.... And Fairfield hasn't been a quaint New England village since the 1800's!
DSS October 04, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Our quaint village has 60,000 people in it. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Michael October 04, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Fairfield Resident, Beleive me I would rather not pick and drop off my children but sitting on a bus for over an hour just doesn't make any sense when I have a middle school a mile and half away from my house. In fact, my children could walk to and from school if they went to the school closer to our home. One of my children is diabetic and the thought of him sitting on a bus for an hour with an unqualified driver scares the hell out of me. It just doesnt make any sense to bus kids across town. Plain and simple.
Fairfield Resident October 05, 2011 at 01:52 AM
:-)
Fairfield Resident October 05, 2011 at 01:52 AM
We did it in the 70's.....why is it a problem now?
Fairfield Resident October 05, 2011 at 01:53 AM
No need for forgiveness RL..... Have a Blessed Day!
Fairfield Resident October 05, 2011 at 01:55 AM
"I have every right to drive them if I feel like it and I would if they were bussed across town." The typical Fairfield County "Me Me Me" sense of entitlement / attitude shines through!
Fairfield Resident October 05, 2011 at 01:57 AM
We did it in the 70's.....why is it a problem now?
pmihaylo October 05, 2011 at 02:11 AM
I walked to TMS in the 70's, but TMS was my neighborhood school. Have you looked at the map of where the feeder schools to TMS are? Look at the map on page 2 located here - http://www.fairfieldschools.org/downloads/trans/districtMaps_8-16-2011.pdf - and tell me if those brown areas are walking distance to TMS?
Jim Eastwood October 05, 2011 at 10:11 AM
Good Morning Fairfield Oh the on going battle !!!! First I am Not screaming at you RP Second a Soccar Mom is a Mom who inspite of buses provided INSISTS on Driving her 1.5 kids to school Not Car Pooling and driving her 6000 Pound SUV getting 8-10 MPG (Which also takes up the space of 1.5 Normal cars)---Then Complains about Global Warming and the price of Gas. THIRD Today is National WALK TO SCHOOL DAY !!!!!!!! Try It !!~! Have a Great Day And remember you put these POOR Managers in Place
DSS October 05, 2011 at 12:41 PM
I guess Jim and Fairfield Resident cannot grasp the concept here. Traveling 2-3 miles on a bus for an hour is unacceptable. Children have homework and activities after school. It would be fantastic if my kids could walk to school. I did it and I loved it. Walking to school would be a great healthy alternative but walking across town is not an option and the bus situation is horrible. As far as car pooling goes that is exactly what we do almost everyday with 3-4 kids in a car but that still doesn't alleviate the traffic situation. The real solution here is a better bus routes and some tweaking to the school districts. The kids will spend enough time commuting when they are adults there is no need now for a child to be on a bus 2 hours a day.
Fairfield Resident October 05, 2011 at 03:57 PM
Dear DSS: Why is it any different now, in 2011, that children can't ride an hour on a school bus to get to school when we did it in the 70's etc.?? It was no big deal then. Why now?
Just One Teacher October 20, 2011 at 09:07 PM
How ironic that this article come up. It takes me about ten minutes some mornings just go that last half mile into the parking lot because of all the congestion. Yesterday I was right behind a bus. I remember following buses not all that long ago where the back windows would be full of kids making funny faces at me or trying to get me to honk my horn. I didn't see a single student. It made me think. I asked some of my students how many kids there were on their bus (when they used to actually ride it) and they told me that there weren't many. Parents certainly do have the right to drive their kids in, but why then is the town spending so much money paying for the service? You would think that if anyone in charge was serious about cutting waste in the budget then they would come up with better transportation plans than what we have.

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