Walking or riding

August 02, 2011

It's not hard to imagine why parents of students in Brentwood Park whose children are on the boards to be walkers when the new Red Pump Elementary School opens this fall.

The school is across Vale Road from the neighborhood, and Vale Road is a busy road. Moreover, drivers don't always show the care and caution they should when on our roadways, especially at the commuting times that coincide with walking to school times.

Still, the problem isn't one that's unique to the Red Pump school and the neighborhoods it will be serving. What is new is the school being so close to a neighborhood that was once served exclusively by school buses.

Is it more of a challenge for walkers to cross Vale Road than it is for them to cross Hickory Avenue in Bel Air or Juniata Street in Havre de Grace or any number of other busy streets? Remember, the kids in question range in age from 5 to 11 or 12.

No thanks to some of the drivers with cavalier attitudes (ever see those bumper stickers that say, "I'm not speeding, I'm qualifying?"), there are relatively few accidents involving students who walk to school.

Does this mean the school system should stand firm on its rule that kids who live a mile or less from a school are walkers? Hardly. While the rules are in place for a reason, sometimes other reasons carry the day. That's why we have exceptions.

This is a new school, and a new situation and as such the school system needs to make darn sure there are no extenuating circumstances before imposing mile or less walk to school rule.

But if the situation at Red Pump is comparable to what's being done at other schools then what's good for those schools is good for Red Pump Elementary.

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