Getting to School
Explore Middle School Commute Options
68% of Palo Alto Middle School students bike to school. 10-14% of traffic congestion is caused by parents driving their students to and from school. Consider these alternatives to reduce congestion and improve safety for everyone, particularly students walking and biking:
- Walk or Bike It. Click here to reference JLS Walk and Roll Map.
- Bus It. VTA bus options are available. Bus route and schedule information can be found at www.vta.org.
- Carpool or Drive It. During the pandemic, walking and biking better support social distancing. Carpooling resources can be found at: www.cityofpaloalto.org/saferoutes. If you must drive, follow your school’s drop off procedures located on your school’s website and use extra caution when driving to and from school.
Walking & Biking
Safe Routes to School presentation 2022-2023
About half of JLS students bike to school and many walk! If you live too far away to walk or bike, consider walking part-way from a nearby neighborhood to avoid traffic congestion on East Meadow Drive.
Use the Safe Routes to School Walk and Roll map to select a good route and read the safety tips. You may download the map here and printed copies are available in the JLS office. Major student entry points for walking and biking include:
- Cowper Street
- Mayview Ave
- Waverley Bike Path
- Bike path at corner of Nelson and Charleston (connects with Magical Bridge playground)
JLS Campus Bicycling Rules
Bike riding on campus is restricted to the bike lanes that runs parallel to Waverley Drive and the playing fields. Bikes may not be ridden anywhere else on campus, including campus sidewalks, walkways, hallways, lawns, eating areas, or parking lots between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. while school is in session.
Lock your bike in one of the three bike cages. We recommend that students use metal U-shaped locks for the best security. Cable locks are easy to cut and therefore are not deterrents to bike thieves. The cages are locked during school hours but remain unlocked after school and many students stay on campus for after-school activities.
The school is not responsible for the theft of bikes. Thefts should be reported to the Palo Alto Police Department, 329-2413. Having your bicycle registered will help track stolen/abandoned bikes back to you. You may bring your bike to any Palo Alto Fire Station from 4-5 pm any day of the week for registration.
Rollerblades, Skateboards & Scooters
Rollerblades, skateboards, and scooters are not to be ridden on campus at any time when the school is in use. Students on rollerblades are to remove them immediately upon arrival, store them in their lockers and not put them on again until ready to leave campus. Students on skateboards or scooters must pick them up and carry them as soon as they are on school property. The school is not responsible for the loss or theft of rollerblades, skateboards or scooters. Oversized skateboards and scooters can be stored in a locked bin outside the attendance office.
Wear a helmet when you ride a skateboard or scooter on public streets or sidewalks. It's the law.
Taking the Bus
There are several convenient bus/shuttle options for students to get to JLS from many parts of the city.
The City of Palo provides a free Shuttle across the city. The Crosstown shuttle provides service for getting to and from JLS. More information is available from the City of Palo Alto and printed shuttle schedules are available in the JLS office.
The VTA 88L and 88M bus lines stop at East Meadow at Waverley St. For more route information, visit http://www.vta.org/routes/rt88.
The VTA 35 bus line makes stops along Middlefield Rd, just a short walk from JLS. You can find additional route information at http://www.vta.org/routes/rt35.
Driving / Carpooling
There is often congestion on East Meadow and the school driveway at peak hours. Plan time for your school commute so you won't feel rushed, enabling you to share the road safely. Please follow these safety guidelines to ensure the safety of all students.
- Slow down and use extra caution in school zones and along commute routes! Signal your turns and yield to pedestrians.
- Carpool with a neighbor to reduce congestion around the school
- Allow time to avoid the last minute rush
- Obey adult crossing guards
- Obey the "No Right Turn on Red" signs posted at designated school intersections to allow students to cross safely
- Don't make U-turns and other unsafe maneuvers that put other road users at risk.
- When dropping off or picking up your student, follow school guidelines and always ensure that he/she exits or enters the car from the curb side.
- Never double park, block access ramps or stop where prohibited.
- Avoid texting, phone calls and other distractions when driving.
Parking and Drop-off Procedures
- Waverley driveway parking spaces are reserved exclusively for JLS staff parking.
- Parents dropping off and picking up students should come down the driveway to the visitor parking lot toward the rear of the school. Please follow the arrows in the parking lot and drop students off curb-side in the loading zone.
- Do not park or stop in the driveway to drop off or pick up students before and after school.
- Using these staff parking spots to quickly pull in and drop off students creates hazards and bottlenecks, endangering and inconveniencing others.
East Meadow Loading Zone
- There is a special "loading zone" designated in front of the school on East Meadow Drive.
- Do not double park or make illegal U-turns.
- If your student is not ready to load or disembark, please find a legal parking place outside the loading zone.
- Do not leave your car in the loading zone.
Fairmeadow / JLS Driveway
- No student drop-offs here.
- The driveway between JLS and Fairmeadow is restricted and is only used for the drop off and pick up of Special Education busses and Food Service vehicles.
- Mitchell Park is an alternative drop-off or pick-up location for JLS students.
- Parking is available near the Clubhouse and bathrooms.
- When dropping off your student, please make sure your students exits the car curb-side and doesn't walk across the parking lot.
- Watch out for bicyclists and share the road carefully.
- You may also enter the Mitchell Park complex from Mayview Ave.
Westbound motorists on East Meadow
- DO NOT make a left turn to enter the JLS driveway when driving from the Middlefield direction.
- Please continue straight on East Meadow through the Waverley intersection, make a right on South Court, and make your next right and then right on Waverley for the straight-in approach.
- Turning left into the JLS driveway will tie up traffic in the intersection and cars will illegally pass you, encroaching into the bike lane, endangering cyclists and pedestrians.
General Driving Safety
Be sure to observe ALL traffic signs near the school.
- The Palo Alto Police Department regularly patrols this area and parents have received tickets for the following offenses: speeding, illegal U-turns, use of the red zone, blocking bike paths, passing on the right inside the bike lane, failure to yield to pedestrians and failure to obey the crossing guards.
- Keep clear of red zones (do not park or drive through red zones).
- Use designated loading areas on East Meadow, and pull as far forward as possible.
- Do not enter or use the Fairmeadow driveway to drop off or pick up students.
- Do not double park.
PLEASE MODEL SAFE BEHAVIOR - Your future driver is watching and learning.
Nearby Drop-Off Options To Reduce Congestion
- Dropping your student off nearby and walking part of the way to school is a great way to avoid East Meadow and campus congestion AND get some exercise!
- Walking routes from neighborhoods near campus can be found on the Walk and Roll Map.
- Take the 1/2-mile challenge by dropping off a half mile away so your student can start the day with healthy exercise.