The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Local morning traffic alters student lifestyles

Joshua Wu
The intersection of Alameda de las Pulgas and Chula Vista Drive creates a lot of traffic in the morning, as many people are trying to get into the senior lot. “I also go through Chula Vista when I’m trying to get to school because it’s the most convenient route. I can see why other people will also go through there and why it would be such a big cause for traffic,” said Sara Ho, a sophomore at Carlmont.

A routine 10 to 15-minute daily commute suddenly takes 25 to 30 minutes.

That is the reality of many residents in San Mateo County and across the country. Many families experience traffic while driving their kids to school in the early morning, which has caused many students and parents to adjust their daily morning routines to arrive at school on time. 

“It causes me to wake up earlier and sleep less. I’m more rushed in the morning, so I don’t have as much time,” said Arthur Bernadi, a sophomore at Carlmont. 

Many students struggle to wake up on time in the morning because the early start time is 8:30 a.m. According to the Centers for Disease Control, early school start times can lead to insufficient sleep, which correlates to poor academic performance, weight gain, and the use of drugs. 

“Traffic has greatly affected my morning routine because it makes my commute a lot longer. This means I have to wake up earlier so I can get to school on time, which is not good for my sleep,” said Sara Ho, a sophomore at Carlmont. 

Students also have a more jammed morning wake-up time, which causes many cars to crowd the school at relatively the same time. 

“A lot of schools are in the area, and they start at the same time. I drive myself, and I have to leave much earlier than I normally do,” said Elliott Kramer, a junior at Carlmont. 

If you’re in the late start time, it might be better because you avoid the Ralston start and avoid a little of the working world commute.

— James Bohac

Moreover, a later start time, such as the 10:02 a.m. start time on Wednesdays, allows students to get more sleep and appears to help with traffic.

“If you arrive at school on the late start time, it might be better because you avoid the Ralston start and avoid a little of the working world commute,” said James Bohac, a physics teacher at Carlmont.

Traffic is most severe near the entrances of Carlmont due to the school’s only three main entry points, causing many cars to jam up throughout all of Alameda de las Pulgas and on Chula Vista Drive. 

“I think there’s a localized problem,” Bohac said. 

The intersection near the senior lot of Carlmont is where most of the traffic occurs. Because students from San Carlos, Belmont, and Redwood Shores are jumbled up near this area, it causes traffic in the mornings and after school with the slow pace at which cars move. 

Another reason for an increase in traffic near the school is due to students who are walking. A law passed in 2022 increasing the safety of pedestrians crossing the street slows down the rate at which cars pass. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, highway traffic is starting to revive back into the pre-pandemic days, when traffic peaked. Bohac noticed this change as well.  

“There has been a big change in traffic overall in the Bay Area after COVID-19, and it’s starting to inch back to where it was before COVID-19 where in the morning and evening commute hours, it can be bad everywhere,” Bohac said. 

However, there is no clear solution to the issue of traffic because it is nearly impossible to manage when others go to school. Students find it hard to determine the best time to avoid traffic and arrive at school on time. 

Consequently, student lifestyle in the morning is often centered around the balance between dodging traffic and adequate sleep. 

“When I take the car, I’m scared that I might be late to school because you can’t control traffic,” Bernadi said.

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About the Contributor
Joshua Wu, Staff Writer
Joshua Wu (Class of 2026) is a sophomore at Carlmont High School. He is covering local news and hopes to improve his skills in covering media and writing. Outside of school, you can find him volunteering for several organizations, playing sports, listening to music, or hanging out with friends.

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