Opinion & Editorial

Consider this ‘safe route to school’ option

Dear Editor,
In a knee jerk reaction to your Aug. 30, 2018 article regarding “safer” routes to school. May I suggest borrowing a superb idea many airports have adopted. If you have ever had go to the Eugene Airport to pick up an arriving family member or friend, it was necessary for you to take laps around and around the airport roads, passing by the arriving passengers baggage claim (until recently). You not only wasted fuel, but also contributed to the congestion in front of the airport baggage and passenger pick up area. Nowadays, folks arriving at the airport to pick up someone simply pull into the “free cell phone waiting area.” When the arriving person has collected their baggage and made their way to the curb, they simply call you on their cell phone. No more wasted fuel, traffic congestion and endless laps around the airport — especially when their plane was running late.
Now, let’s see how this idea might work at our schools. Mom drives through the drop off area in the morning, the kids hop out and mom drives on. No congestion or excess fumes.
When school lets out, however, the situation is quite different. Some moms arrive early and they take up valuable parking areas in front of the school, which annoys the poor teacher trying to keep the traffic moving, and irritates the bus drivers trying to make their pick-ups. The solution: Have a designated “cell phone parking lot.” When the kids are ready to be picked up they simply call mom’s cell number. Mom puts her magazine down, starts the car and drives around to their favorite pick up spot. Kids don’t have a cell phone? No problem, there is always a teacher or two monitoring the bottleneck. My guess is the teachers will be happy to call the kids mom for them. Teachers will be delighted, and moms don’t get yelled at by other moms or bus drivers. Problem solved. Now, wasn’t that easy?
If you haven’t seen the system at the Eugene Airport, it might be worth a drive. The Free Cell Lot is on the right as you drive in. You might see folks reading, visiting or even dozing. They are not taking laps, burning fuel or trying to avoid the nasty looks from the local police officer. By the way, Eugene Airport is expected to surpass one million travelers this year. Wow!
It will work.
Dick Kauffman



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