Branson has long understood that its neighbors have genuine concerns about the impact of traffic on the surrounding residential community. For 29 years, the school has leased off-site parking from St. Anselm’s Church in an effort to reduce traffic in the neighborhood. Branson has also been mindful of modeling sustainable environmental practices, and for many years it has been providing transportation options and incentives to encourage buses, vans, carpooling, walking and biking whenever possible. Branson is proud of the steps it has taken on its own initiative to reduce the number of vehicles traveling to and from school, and it is committed to keeping traffic at the current level if the enrollment grows by 100 students over time.
Current Traffic Reduction Measures:
School start time: Beginning in 2017-18, Branson changed its school start time to 8:45 AM, reducing traffic on surrounding streets and Sir Francis Drake Blvd. during peak commute hours.
Bus and Vans provided by Branson
Branson provides bus service for San Francisco students once in the morning and twice in the afternoon: once at the end of the school day and once after sports. Branson athletes may take the early San Francisco bus to their practices at the College of Marin, where many of the school’s sports teams play.
Branson offers a free daily round trip shuttle to all students from the East Bay.
Branson provides a shuttle service from the San Rafael Transit Center for students and faculty/staff from the North Bay who ride the SMART Train.
Below is a visual depicting morning student commute methods:
Seniors and Juniors who have finished their probationary year may drive to campus only if they have a carpool of 3, 4 or 5 students. The drivers in a carpool of 5 receive preferred parking spaces. An on-campus parking permit is $550 for 3 riders, $275 for 4 riders, and is waived for 5 or more riders. There are 50 assigned student spaces and drivers must display a parking permit.
Student carpools are monitored regularly for compliance. Lack of compliance with carpool guidelines may result in loss of campus parking privileges.
Students who are not in a carpool, but drive to school, are required to park in the St. Anselm’s parking lot, where the school leases 50 spots. Branson shuttles these students to school. Permits are free for carpools of 3 or more, $275 for 2 drivers, and $550 for a single driver unless they are in their probationary year or are unable to drive a carpool.
Students are not permitted at any time to park on local streets around Branson; the restricted streets include but are not limited to Fernhill, Glenwood, Waverly, Norwood, Hillgirt and Bolinas. Branson staff monitor parking on these streets and encourage neighbors to call in when there are violations.
Students not adhering to these expectations receive parking citations from the School. These tickets have the following financial penalties:
First offense results in the receipt of a $50 citation;
Citations 2 to 4 carry a fine of $100 each;
Citations 5 and above carry a fine of $250 each
After a third citation a conference is scheduled among the Director of Parking and Traffic, the appropriate Class Dean, the student, and his/her parents. Parking privileges will be revoked if a student accumulates more than 5 citations.
Students living within two miles of the Branson campus and applying for a parking space on campus must present a compelling reason for the request and are otherwise encouraged to walk or bike to school.
School faculty and staff are provided free on-campus parking. Faculty and staff who give up their parking spots on campus are paid $600 per year. Since 2017, faculty and staff receive $3 per day when they participate in a carpool.
Guest parking spots are located in the upper parking lot. Overflow parking is made available on the Branson campus tennis courts when necessary. For graduation, off-site parking is leased at the College of Marin and guests come by bus.
Students are urged, in the strongest possible terms, to drive responsibly at all times, including when traveling to and from the Branson campus. The posted 25 m.p.h. speed limit is strictly enforced by the Ross and San Anselmo Police Departments.
Students, parents, faculty and staff may NEVER use Norwood Avenue as a route to school. The traffic hazards on this road severely reduce its capacity to accommodate traffic safely, as compared to other local streets. The following sanctions have been implemented to deter student traffic on Norwood:
The first time a student is observed by school personnel or a neighbor driving on Norwood, the student will receive a $100
The second time a student is observed by school personnel or a neighbor driving on Norwood, his or her campus parking privileges will be terminated for the remainder of the school year.
If a student does not currently have campus parking privileges, the student will be removed from consideration for a space in future years.
Students are advised to use extreme caution when driving on Glenwood.
It is illegal to make a left turn onto Shady Lane from Bolinas in the mornings from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. The Ross Police Department and the California Highway Patrol frequently post officers near that intersection to ticket offenders.
Parents may only drop off or pick up students at the St. Anselm’s parking lot or the school’s back parking lot on Upper Fernhill. This prevents congestion on Fernhill Avenue.
Future Traffic Management Measures if Enrollment Increases:
Branson’s traffic engineers have determined that it will be possible for Branson to keep traffic at the current levels with 100 new students. This is possible through the incremental utilization of a combination of the following methods as the student body grows:
Adding a dedicated bus route or van services for Marin students in addition to the San Francisco bus
Creating remote parent drop off and pick up sites on Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Bolinas Avenue or other locations serviced by the Marin and San Francisco buses/vans
Offering further incentives to increase carpool ridership and carpool occupancy
Because Branson is committed to keeping the traffic net neutral with expanded enrollment, there is no anticipated change in parking demand on campus. There are no plans for additional parking spaces or a change in location for parking.
Potential improvements to traffic, bike and pedestrian safety include striping Fernhill, adding pathways/sidewalks, adding a stop sign at Norwood and Fernhill, speed bumps, flashing speed notification signs, and additional speed limit signs. These options to increase safety on adjacent streets will be discussed at neighborhood gatherings and community meetings coordinated by Branson. There is nothing more important to the school than keeping surrounding streets safe for community members and neighbors.
Below is a sample 4-year strategy to demonstrate how 100 additional students can be added while keeping trips net neutral during the morning commute:
“I have lived on lower Fernhill for 38 years and before that I lived on Bolinas Avenue for 5 years. In the past 20 years the school has worked with the neighbors, the police and the school families and students to control the traffic in our neighborhood. The improvement has been dramatic and continues to get better each year. There is no reason to think this careful control and supervision of the traffic will not continue into the future. They have been a wonderful neighbor and are a community enhancement -- I believe we are fortunate to have an excellent school in our town.”
Margie Ellis, Ross Resident since 1976
“As the leader of the Bolinas Avenue Neighborhood Committee (BANC), I have spent the past 12 years working on public safety issues on Bolinas Avenue. In 2009, Branson worked with us quickly and effectively to implement measures that helped reduce congestion. During this process, I felt that no one handled their commitment to community like Branson did. When you vote, I ask that you consider what could happen if the school were forced to leave. I have seen firsthand how Branson takes safety and traffic seriously, and I believe the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”
John Martin, Bolinas Avenue neighbor and Ross Resident