Eastlake traffic backs up as parents drive their kids to TOPS to protest bus cuts

Traffic around TOPS@Seward School appeared to be busier than usual this morning as parents who live outside the school’s transportation zone drove their children to school to protest potential bus cuts.

At one point, northbound traffic on Boylston was backed up from Louisa to Lynn as buses and parents tried to make a left onto Louisa to drop off children. Annoyed drivers on Boylston could be heard honking their horns and at least one bus driver yelled at a driver he felt was holding up entrance to Louisa, which is the bus drop-off zone.

Parents of children who live outside the Washington Middle School transportation zone, which covers TOPS, had been asked to drive their children to school today to demonstrate what might happen if bus service outside that zone is dropped. The Seattle Public Schools have proposed eliminating bus service beyond the Washington Middle School transportation zone as way to save money.

Parents at the school say the cuts could impact the school’s diversity by making it harder for children who live outside the TOPS’ transportation zone to attend. They also say they are concerned about the traffic impact in Eastlake if parents of those students had to drive their children to school every day.

One parent, Ginger Segel, said she usually drives her children to school on Fridays. She thought today’s traffic was busier than usual. She said she usually never has to wait to get onto Louisa to drop her kids.

Lucy Kee, who lives near Green Lake, dropped two children off. She said there are usually two or three cars waiting on Boylston to turn onto Louisa but she had never seen traffic backed up to Lynn. 

“My concern,” she said, “is that there’s no drop off zone here.”

Wayne Duncan, another parent, said that the school district had implied there would always be transportation for TOPS students but “that promise is being taken away.”

Parent Sheila Anderson said the TOPS parents will be reporting to the school board on how this morning’s event went and will be engaging the board in a discussion about continuing the bus service.

5 thoughts on “Eastlake traffic backs up as parents drive their kids to TOPS to protest bus cuts

  1. Andrew D

    Part of the issue this morning also had to do with a construction supplies delivery truck which was attempting to back into the alley just west of Boylston Ave on Roanoke (likely for the truly ugly three story that’s being built on the 2600 block of Boylston). The driver struggled with backing into the alley for quite a while stopping the usual morning traffic that would be continuing west on Roanoke towards Eastlake.

    I also wonder, with all of the programs being cut and likely to be cut – if parents are able to drive their children to school from out of area this morning and to do so in a maximally disruptive manner, perhaps they could take it upon themselves to organize car pools and etc for the future?

  2. mdfrancisco

    I have a solution. Don’t send your kids to TOPS. Families who live in the Eastlake Neighborhood would really like to send our kids there and we don’t need bus transportation. I can only speak for myself, but probably there are others in the ‘hood who view this as very misguided. Not to mention counterproductive.

  3. TOPSparent

    When my son enrolled in TOPS as a kindergartener, we could not have imagined that transportation services would be discontinued for nearly 50% of the students. These cuts came as a surprise to us and to the many impacted families. Is your suggestion really that parents impacted by the proposed cuts yank their children out of TOPS so there will be more room for Eastlake families? While I certainly understand your desire to send your children to TOPS, your comments show a disregard for how disruptive these changes will be for many families. Nonetheless, I am confident that if the proposed transportation changes are adopted many children will have to change schools and others will choose not to enroll, and you will get your wish of yet another homogonous neighborhood school, completely lacking in the rich diversity that makes TOPS such a unique learning envirnment.

  4. mdfrancisco

    It makes little sense to bus Eastlake kids past Seward Elementary every day to a school farther away from their homes, so that other kids can take the bus past schools in their own neighborhoods to attend TOPS. SSD has to make transportation budget cuts, no doubt to cover serious budget gaps in a way that minimizes the impacts on the district as a whole, and you stage a protest that presents another imposition on Eastlake. Did you think about how this looks? TOPS is a long-standing sore spot in Eastlake. Especially for those of us who have already had to face a difficult choice of either taking our kids out of public school or putting them on a bus across town every morning to get a substandard education. No thanks, I’d rather not. Good luck on the next levy election.

  5. jon

    “Did you think about how this looks?”

    I was wondering if these “protestors” are totally oblivious.

    They demonstrate that they’re affluent enough to afford a car and are capable of driving their kids to school. But their sense of entitlement is so bloated that they expect taxpayers to relieve them of their own responsibilities.

    This is almost beyond belief–the grotesque arrogance, the presumption that other citizens are obligated to finance their transportation–and in so doing, preventin an Eastlake family from walking their child a few blocks to school every day.


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