Some children would have to walk more than a mile to reach Eagle Ridge Middle School.

Whenever Loudoun County Public Schools changes or expands its school walk zones, there’s undoubtedly at least a few frustrated families. No one likes change. But a newly expanded walk zone in the Broadlands has raised more eyebrows than usual.

If you look at the map, you will see that the expanded walk zone for Eagle Ridge Middle School stretches slightly more than mile north of the school. Even more unusual is that children on the east side of the community’s nature path will have to walk, while children just a hundred feet away on the west side — who are basically the exact same distance from the middle school — will apparently get a bus.

A child leaving from Hidden Pond Place at the north end of the expanded zone would have to walk past dozens of houses closer to the school whose children are getting bused. The map appears to show students just two or three blocks from the school who get a bus, while other students would have to walk more than a mile. Social media has been full of posts from concerned parents.

“The shortest route from my house on Google maps is 1.3 miles. This is way too far,” said Suzie Creech, who will have two children at ERMS next year. “I am actually sick over this.”

Image: Eagle Ridge Middle School PTA

The Burn took a cursory look at walk zones for the other middle schools in Loudoun and none appeared to have added as many homes as the zones around Eagle Ridge Middle. We reached out to Wayde Byard, the spokesman for LCPS, but after more than a week of trying, he wasn’t able to get an explanation of why the walk zone appears to be so gerrymandered and so inequitable. There may be a good reason, but no one knows what it is. Meanwhile upset parents are filing formal appeals with LCPS asking for the zone to be changed.

  1. Alex 6 years ago

    This is crazy!

  2. Kevin Schultz 6 years ago

    Yep. We’re one of those in the walk zone. I don’t mind my son walking to school, but I fail to see the logic. My son will walk by the houses of his friends who live half the distance to the school and they get buses simply because they live on the other side of the trail.

  3. TC J. 6 years ago

    One other one here in ashburn is dominion trail walking zone. Which would be at least a 30 min walk for my first grader. Most of which is on ashburn village blvd a very busy street. And around three bodies of water. I’m not going to put my exact location but saxony ter is in close proximity.

    And in addition to the walk zone being crazy far from the school. Look at the tiny school zone driving area which only last a couple hundred feet most of which is not infront of the school. And none of it includes the area of ashburn village blvd my kids are supposed to walk in.

  4. 96 and Counting 6 years ago

    Considering there is a large population of stay at home mom’s living in this area, I would think it would be easy for them to coordinate a rotation of carpools which could easily get multiple children to and from school.

    • Concerned Mom 6 years ago

      Actually, most of us on this street specifically being mentioned in the above article are working parents. A lot of us that were stay at home moms went back to work once our children hit upper elementary/ middle school. So no, a carpool would not be easily coordinated and that is why the safety is a concern. Additionally, this still doesn’t explain why streets in the same neighborhood much closer to the middle school will be getting a bus and our kids will be essentially passing their bus stops on their long walk to school.

  5. Hugh 6 years ago

    We were informed that our boys at Trailside MS will have to walk next year, too. It’s not about the walk, which (in good weather, anyway) is healthy for them. I don’t think the walking boundary should be expanding at all. This is one of the best-funded school districts in the nation. I believe it’s mismanagement.

  6. Kaiser Soze 6 years ago

    Looking at the map, my daughter gets a bus even though we are actually closer to Eagle Ridge and has a path the whole way. Weird how this has been decided.

    • Kevin 6 years ago

      Exactly! 🙂

  7. Kevin 6 years ago

    For those of you, who like me, don’t understand the new ERMS walk zone. My wife received this email today.

    “Transportation Division has received a number of inquiries from Eagle Ridge Middle School parents regarding the newly expanded walking area north of Truro Parish Dr. A member of the transportation department will be at the school on Tuesday, June 20th at 1:00 pm and we invite those with concerns to join us in a review and walk of the route. Anyone who wants to attend should meet transportation at the front door of the school. ”

    Nice to set it up for a weekday in the middle of the workday with little notice to try and get out of work. I replied that I don’t need to walk the route – I’m very familiar with and comfortable with the walking paths in Broadlands. I just want to understand the rationale for how our neighborhood was picked for walking but kids closer to the school are get a bus.

    Well, thought I would share this here in case anyone else wants to attend this meeting at ERMS tomorrow since it appeared they only sent the email to like 8 people and I know everyone in my neighborhood is up in arms about it.

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