News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
650-329-2607
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301

9/4/2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE 09/04/2012
Subject :

Online Schoolpool Pilot Program Launches in Palo Alto
Contact : Sylvia Star-Lack, Assistant Safe Routes to School Coordinator    650-329-2156
    saferoutes@cityofpaloalto.org

Palo Alto, CA – September 4, 2012 – The City of Palo Alto and Ohlone Elementary School are pleased to announce a pilot program that provides parents with online tools to help them pool their trips to school with other parents, whether by car, on bike, or on foot. This pilot is powered by the online matching service of Carpooltoschool.com, which offers customized software to help parents coordinate schedules as well as track their greenhouse gas reductions for all scheduled Schoolpool trips.

Jaime Rodriguez, Palo Alto's Chief Transportation Official, noted that the new program adds an important option to the City's Safe Routes to School program, which works in partnership with the Palo Alto Unified School District and PTA volunteers to encourage walking and biking to school and improve safety along school commute routes. 

"Piloting this multi-modal effort to encourage school pools at Ohlone will allow us to test out this new option as another element of our alternative transportation toolkit," said Rodriguez.

"We are excited to offer this innovative program to our parent community. Reducing traffic congestion near our school by increasing the number of families who pool to school will make it safer for everyone and help reduce our school's carbon footprint," added Ohlone principal Bill Overton.

The pilot Schoolpool project is funded in part by a Vehicle Emissions Reductions Based at Schools (VERBS) grant from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation. Kathy Durham, the City’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator, explained that "Even though impressive numbers of students are now walking and biking to school in Palo Alto, student enrollment increases have generated increased vehicle congestion around many PAUSD schools. It’s been great working closely with Principal Overton and the parent volunteers on the Ohlone traffic safety committee to integrate the Schoolpool program into their ongoing efforts to improve school commute safety and encourage green school commutes." If the pilot is successful, the City plans to offer the Schoolpool program to other PAUSD schools where vehicle congestion is a problem. 
  

About the City of Palo Alto’s Safe Routes to School program

The City of Palo Alto Safe Routes to School Program grew out of a community partnership with the Palo Alto Unified School District and Palo Alto Council of PTAs to reduce risks to students on their commute to school and to encourage more families to walk, bike or choose other alternatives to driving more often. Since 1994, committed PTA volunteers as well as City and School District staff have collaborated to improve the safety of students traveling to school.

In the spring of 2012, the City of Palo Alto initiated an expanded Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, with funding from a $528,000 two-year Vehicle Emissions Reductions Based at Schools (VERBS) grant from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. The project will enhance the City's Five E's approach to Safe Routes to School programming: Education, Engineering, Enforcement, Encouragement and Evaluation.

The VERBS grant will allow the City to evaluate the existing conditions for students traveling to school, assess current education programs, develop new encouragement tools, explore policy changes to improve school commute safety, and map suggested routes for walking and bicycling to school for all 17 PAUSD schools. For more information, please contact the Transportation Division at (650) 329-2156 or saferoutes@cityofpaloalto.org.

About CarpooltoSchool.com LLC
Since 2008, CarpooltoSchool.com has partnered with schools to offer customized carpool, bikepool and walkpool matching and calendaring to help parents organize child transportation to and from school. For more information, visit www.CarpooltoSchool.com or call 831-435-6016 x128.

CarpooltoSchool.com provides a customized web site for each participating school, giving parents a secure, easy way to organize alternative transportation to and from school. CarpooltoSchool.com’s user-friendly interface makes planning carpools, walkpools, and bikepools quick and convenient. Features include: a private matching service integrated with Google maps, simple to use Schoolpool calendaring, tallying of the reduction in greenhouse gases resulting from each scheduled schoolpool, and even the option of text messaging to remind parents when it’s their turn to drive, bike, or walk with children in their schoolpool.





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