Since 1994 (and earlier), the PTA through Traffic Safety Representatives and involved parents has been focused on school commute safety and alternatives to single family car trips to school.
A committee called the City/School Traffic Safety Committee (CSTSC) was created of community members, City of Palo Alto staff and Palo Alto Unified School District staff to advise the City Manager and the School Superintendent on matters relating to school traffic safety for students.
Significant progress was made to reverse the trend toward car-commuting. Thanks to the committee’s work, we have fewer single family car trips to school and more students walking, biking, and carpooling. This was accomplished primarily by educating parents and students on alternatives to driving and the benefits of walking and biking to school.
By 2003, the committee had reached the limit of what PTA volunteers could accomplish alone. A stronger coalition of resources was needed for further change.
At the same time, a new international movement called Safe Routes to School was expanding the options for communities like Palo Alto. With leadership provided by Kathy Durham and other community members, the CSTSC and PTA worked to get a task force created to focus on a Safe Routes to School program.
In October, 2005 the City/School Traffic Safety Committee (CSTSC) adopted the Safe Routes to School National Partnership Consensus Statement.