WVMS Voice

The Student News Site of Welsh Valley Middle School

WVMS Voice

WVMS Voice

LM’s New Walk Zone Sparks Controversy


Can you imagine having to walk more than a mile and a half to get to school every morning? For more than 500 students entering the new LM Walk Zone, that could mean walking more than 3 miles per day just to get to and from school. 


Are you among the new 500 kids entering the LM walk zone? With school choice closed, many eighth graders can finally take a sigh of relief to know what high school they’re advancing to. However, the LM kids’ situation is different. They might have to undergo a torturous walk that can equal up to 1 hour and 30 minutes to and from school… every single day. 




The LM walkzone has been extended from 1 mile to 1.5 miles, due to some loopholes, kids are realistically walking up to 1.7 miles one way. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think this is reasonable? Are you curious about the other details? Keep reading to uncover the nitty-gritty ins and outs of this new decision and why it sparked outrage. What do you think so far?


While 1.7 miles isn’t very far traveling in a vehicle, walking up to 3.4 miles a day – especially in the early morning, after hard classes, or following sports activities will be undeniably aggravating and time consuming. High school kids will start school at 8:30 AM and school will be ending at 3:15 PM. Students who do sports cold be getting him as late at 7:00 PM or later, kids will be walking home in the dark. For kids who are tired and simply want to get home to complete their homework and rest, this additional travel time will cause kids to have an increased stress level and worry about finishing their tasks. 


It can also result in keeping kids up later and not allowing them to do simple things like socializing with their friends and relaxing. Moreover, if the students’ parents are unable to drive, who knows what type of weather conditions these children will have to face which will just distress them more. What would happen if you left something important at home, 1 mile in, you can’t just turn around.


Weather Conditions


They could be forced to trudge along in the 100 degree, scorching hot summer weather with blazing sun or battle frigid breezes in 20 or below degree weather. Kids can encounter dangerously icy and slippery sidewalks or heavy rain, causing these students to be absolutely drenched before gym class. It could be snowing and LMSD wouldn’t provide a bus, forcing parents to unnecessarily waste their time to drive their kid to school.


It’s worth noting that parents are paying incredibly expensive taxes to the school and still are incapable of getting a bus for their child. Not only is the weather unpredictable and not acceptable for walkers, but while enduring all of that, they also have to carry extremely heavy bags containing binders, notebooks, pencil cases, lunches (which by the way are incredibly expensive to buy at school, but thats a topic for another article), computers, chargers, etc. This will feel like walking carrying 500 pound weights on your shoulders, and it’s enormously tiring. An average high school student’s backpack is around 20-30 pounds! What happens when your leg is broken and can’t walk? What happens if it’s so hot there’s a risk of heatstroke? What happens if neither your parents or your friends’ parents can drive you? What do you do in those situations? Have I got you to come around yet?


Parking and Traffic


LM does a lottery to see who gets a parking spot, and if you don’t win the lottery you don’t get a spot. LM Students are able to drive in sophomore/junior year, so walking to school is only for a relatively short period of time anyways. Well what about parking? Parking causes a significant challenge. What if the closest spot you can find is still 1 mile away? What’s the point then? In such cases, parking lots could and most likely will be filled and inaccessible, which realistically wouldn’t have a benefit at all to this. 


Parking would be pointless. With other kids parking nearby, traffic will leave no spot behind. Besides, only the fortunate kids have a car solely to themselves, most kids will be sharing a car with their parents if they even have any attainable vehicle. 


Regarding parking and traffic, the parents who decide to drive their kids to school will cause congested traffic up all of Montgomery avenue. The streets will become very busy and the LM parking lots will be totally full with parents, squished in, attempting not to hit another car or student. 


It will leave little room to maneuver and increase risks of accidents. This will cause students’ journey to school to be even less safe. The roads and sidewalks will become considerably more populated and with not many accessible sidewalks, this is, said bluntly, unsafe. These sidewalks are either very tiny or nonexistent at all. 


Was this a worry for Harriton kids? No, but I’ll dive into that later. With an expanding amount of traffic, it can also lead to delays in arriving at school.These students will eventually feel more consciously uncomfortable with their surroundings.




Continuing on with the concerns of transportation, should kids really have to walk a long way home in the dark? If we are discussing safety, this is a critical and necessary point. Besides all the other risks associated with this precarious system, this is amongst the most dangerous situations for a child. Firstly, it’s much harder to see children in the dark without wearing reflective clothing. Additionally, kids at night are also over 50% plus more likely to fall victim to a crime. Not to mention, many car accidents occur at night, especially in this area. While being kidnapped is an incredibly rare occurrence around here, car accidents involving pedestrians are most certainly not. Looking back, many accidents have happened nearby causing fatal injuries or serious injuries. Walking on Montgomery Avenue or Lancaster can be a daunting task for a child. 


But wait, did you know Harriton doesn’t have a walk zone? Why? Why do the LM kids have to walk but not the Harriton kids. Montgomery Avenue is just as challenging, if not more, than the streets near Harriton. This disparity feels like a clear case of inequality. LMSD has discriminated against LM, why do the kids that are 1 mile away from Harriton have a bus? Why do the Harriton kids that are .5 miles, or .4 or even .1 miles get a bus. But not the 1.7 mile away kids at LM. It’s not justified to single out 500+ kids. What about equity? If an LM student has to come to school soaked in the freezing rain, why does a Harriton kid get to come to school warm and cozy, even if they live the same distance from school? Why can’t they consolidate bus stops? LMSD’s lack of transparency is concerning. Instead of speaking to the community and explaining their thoughts, they provide minimal information at a time. What is going on? It’s unclear. 

LMSD is essentially telling this community that even though we all pay school taxes we aren’t all entitled for a bus. Instead, they suggest taking the SEPTA bus which is an additional cost that some people will not be able to afford. Besides, the schedule barely works if it even works at all, and is inconvenient. The bus will only come by every hour and only be easily reachable to certain places in Ardmore and Narberth. If this district really does care about their students’ mental health, they should not impose this drastic burden on them. 


Pro 1.5 Walkzone


LMSD has justified their decisions by pointing out that it’s not unusual in other districts. They argue that without changes, middle school students will have to arrive much earlier and other students would be late. The district is facing a bus driver shortage, especially since many drivers are retiring. The buses can’t hold too many kids. Students can still take late buses. LMSD has to increase efficiency and reduce late arrivals. This is the consequence of later start times.


Balancing the needs of everyone is challenging, always trying to make changes to accommodate everyone. But LMSD possesses the money and resources to resolve this issue. LM is not a safe walk-zone and that is why we didn’t have a ginormous one before now. If students will be arriving late to school, why did they change the start time to what it is? Why would students in the walk-zone receive late buses and not normal buses? How would having more children walk to school help with tardies? We were never informed this would be a consequence of later start times. It should not be one or the other. They’re sacrificing our sleep or our time. They shouldn’t be compromising students’ mental health because they are switching to full day kindergarten. When you look on the maps, a big chunk of kids in the choice zone are in the walk zone which is unfair. Usually a safety study is conducted before implementing change. There wasn’t a safety study this time and I bet if there was, it would tell you how unsafe and misleading the nature of this decision is.


As A student


I am a LM walk zone student. I have a heavy bag that weighs 19 pounds. I live 1.7 miles away from the front doors of LM. I do sports after school. I am doing all honors classes. My parents will not drive me to school everyday. I do not want to walk 3.4 miles everyday with 19+ pounds on my back. I am 13 turning 14. I don’t agree with this new system and I want to be able to focus on doing well in school, doing my homework, playing sports and being with my friends. Not getting to school and back safely.


Do you share my perspective? Do you think they should reduce the walk zone or keep it the same? Are you also a student in the walk zone? If you want to help make change, sign this petition and share it with your friends and family.




View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All WVMS Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    Maria VaccaroMar 19, 2024 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you for writing this !