Air quality event highlights importance of avoiding car idling at schools

Event to be held at Pleasanton Middle School

Air quality experts will gather with students and school staff today to spread a simple message: Parents, turn off your engines.

Health and air quality experts will meet with parents, teachers and students at Pleasanton Middle School at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the hazards of idling in your car while waiting in a parent pick-up line.

"Monitoring at schools has shown elevated levels of benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and other air toxics during the afternoon hour coinciding with parents picking up their children," the The Bay Area Air Quality Management District said in a release. "Students' lungs are still developing, and when they are exposed to elevated levels of these pollutants, children have an increased risk of developing asthma, respiratory problems and other adverse health effects. Limiting a vehicle's idling time can dramatically reduce these pollutants and children's exposure to them."

Mary Frazier, a representative from UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, Lisa Adamos, Pleasanton economic development specialist, Tom Flannigan, Bay Area Air District spokesman, and members of the Pleasanton Middle School leadership class will participate in the event at Pleasanton Middle, 5001 Case Ave.

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5 people like this
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 7, 2015 at 10:27 am

The overcrowding must be a factor in car pollution at schools. Where is the city and school leadership when we need to build more schools and ease the congestion in Pleasanton. We just gave away public land perfect for a school to build to, of course, more spacious water wasting homes.

11 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 7, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Simple solution - school buses. Worked before, it will work again.

2 people like this
Posted by Vineyard Vinnie
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Oct 8, 2015 at 10:33 am

Maybe the kids could walk to school - like we did. Through the rain, sleet, hailstorms and snow.

1 person likes this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 8, 2015 at 12:51 pm

I pick my daughter up every day from Hart and a few weeks ago, when it was 100+ degrees every day, I noticed most parents kept the windows up and the AC on in their cars as they waited in line. I can see their point in those cases but I still see it now when the temps are 80-85 degrees. All one has to do is roll down the window and get catch the breeze.
Besides, I'm sure it is damaging to the engine to idle so long (half an hour or more). Any mechanics can chime in here to verify.

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Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

I love how parents/grandparents/whomever line up starting at 30-60 minutes before the final bell. Pick up at the elementary and middle schools is ridiculous. What's most ridiculous is the pick-up or drop-off of just one kid. I have a full car with three other families' kid(s) when I pick up, I encourage everyone to arrange carpools.

Oh, and just in case there was confusion, no one will change what they are doing. It's about to get hot again, so cars will be sitting there running with windows up and AC on.

2 people like this
Posted by kbenson
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Oct 8, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Do what I do-

Park in shady area a block or 2 from school.

Walk to school a few min b4 bell and return to car wit kid(s) <---Also helps avoid traffic congestion leaving school grounds.

btw - the stench from some exhaust is overpowering and not good for kids/adults to inhale while waiting for ride.

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Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Oct 8, 2015 at 4:22 pm

@Bill: "Simple solution - school buses. Worked before, it will work again."

The school buses I remember belched out a lot of noxious fumes and smoke. Think that they still do.

3 people like this
Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 8, 2015 at 8:45 pm

As stated previously, this is partly the fault of the city and school government. The General Plan states a maximum number of students per schools and to create neighborhood schools. The schools are already over the General Plan size but the city keeps approving housing, the school district keeps collecting fees, but the school just get more crowded instead of using the fees to build the neighborhood schools. So now because of their lack of leadership, they blame the parents.

2 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2015 at 9:46 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

oldtimer, I don't think anyone is really "blaming" anyone. It is less expensive to have larger schools, as there is a huge overhead cost to opening and running a new school. It is actually a smart move to resist opening new schools, I call that good leadership.

But don't blame the city or school district for parents sitting in their cars. Many more of them could choose to have their kids walk or ride bikes, and carpools could be better. Those choices belong to the parents alone.

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Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 9, 2015 at 10:10 am

Carpooling would be a good solution since a lot of these kids live in the same neighborhood just a few houses or a couple of blocks away from each other.
Too bad the schools can't get out a map, locate where everyone lives, then draw a circle around those in a tight areas and try to organize a carpool with the parents.
I'm not aware of any effort by the schools to organize carpools but I could be wrong.

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Posted by citizenly
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2015 at 10:55 am

The city has an easy way for families to sign up to carpool to local schools. School buses had to be sold off long ago during another budget crisis, and it's too expensive to bring back that mode of transportation. Wheels bus system works with the schools to provide free bus transportation at the start of the school year for middle and high school students to see how easy it is to get to school without mommy or daddy driving. The best suggestion may be the parent's who parks in the shade some distance from an elementary school(at a nearby park?) and then walks to drop off or meet his elementary school student. those who idle their cars for more than 5 minutes should be ticketed.

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Posted by Henry
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 9, 2015 at 6:44 pm

So why don't the students walk or bike or scooter? Why do they need rides? I don't get it. I doubt many students live more than a mile from their school. It can't take more than a half hour maximum.

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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 9, 2015 at 8:42 pm

Teslas, leafs, 500e, Gti ev, rav 4 ev, b class, i3, etc. Some awesome ev options today. Get one and don't look back.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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