Data obtained by the School Neighbors Association from Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) indicate that there were 20,363 School-of-Choice participants at LBUSD schools during the 2013-14 school year. By definition, School-of-Choice participants attend a school located away from their home school, which typically prevents them from walking to school and instead results in these students being driven across town into residential neighborhoods that were designed for local pedestrian traffic to and from school — and not for massive volumes of school traffic on residential streets.
If each School-of-Choice participant is driven to and from school each day, this translates into LBUSD’s School-of-Choice program creating 40,726 vehicle trips per day into mostly residential neighborhoods that are ill-equipped to handle this traffic load. Common effects of this large School-of-Choice traffic influx upon residential neighborhoods include excessive noise, residential streets being clogged with parking, school traffic double-parking in the middle of residential streets making travel on these streets impossible, school traffic turning around using residential sidewalks and residential front yards creating extremely dangerous conditions for residents, and neighborhood parents being forced to prohibit their children from going outside into their front yards and neighborhoods because of school traffic dangers.
The map above (download a PDF version) was produced showing estimated elementary and middle school traffic rates produced at LBUSD schools by their School-of-Choice program. The map demonstrates a clear trend that the neighborhoods hosting east-side Long Beach schools are on the receiving-end of a disproportionate volume of School-of-Choice traffic. The neighborhoods around each of the following schools are estimated to receive over 1,000 cars per day (other school-produced traffic should be added to these numbers, such as traffic from local students, school staff, school visitors, and school businesses [e.g., preschools and before/after-school day care]):
- Tincher Preparatory School (1,122 vehicle trips / day from LBUSD’s School-of-Choice program)
- Hill Middle School (1,304 vehicle trips / day from LBUSD’s School-of-Choice program)
- Marshall Academy of the Arts (1,114 vehicle trips / day from LBUSD’s School-of-Choice program)
- Newcomb Academy (1,144 vehicle trips / day from LBUSD’s School-of-Choice program)
- Patrick Henry Elementary School (1,044 vehicle trips / day from LBUSD’s School-of-Choice program)
For comparison purposes, if a resident were to operate a home-based business, the City of Long Beach would restrict their traffic production to just 8 vehicle trips per day with a peak of 2 vehicle trips per hour. On the same residential streets, School-of-Choice participants at east-side LBUSD schools produce over 1,000 vehicle trips per day with peak rates far in excess of 2 per hour. This School-of-Choice-produced traffic alone exceeds this residential street limit by a factor of more than 100.