Bolinas and Stinson Beach students face frightening commute


By Elisa Cobb

Commuters from Bolinas and Stinson Beach have been facing unprecedented travel times due to the coastal California storm, heavily affecting students at Tamalpais High School. Both Stinson Beach and Bolinas are located off Shoreline Highway, right on the Northern California coastline. Along with its popular surfing, unique art, and close knit community, it has been heavily impacted by January’s challenging weather conditions. 

Stinson Beach’s elevation is 26 feet and Bolinas’s 36 feet. High elevation can speed up future flooding issues. 

“There are 129 properties in Bolinas that have greater than a 26 percent chance of being severely affected by flooding over the next 30 years,” according to RiskFactor, a website holding projections of past, present, and future climate risks. 

On Jan. 5, an almost 25-foot wave crashed into Stinson Beach properties along the coast. This hard hit to the community left locals and residents needing support from the impacts of the wave. Locals and residents were left to deal with current flooding, and the future storm possibilities. After severe damage to the towns and roads, commuters experienced the danger first hand. 

“We have seen huge trees fully cover roads from being knocked down by the storm. It can be very scary,” Tam sophomore Emely Garcia said.

The Bolinas and Stinson Beach school bus departs from its first stop, Bolinas School at 7:10 a.m.; moving through it’s other stops, Popular & Outlook, Elm Dodgewood, Fern, and Iris, Bolinas Center, Elm and Birch, Ocean Parkway and Terrace, Whark & Brighton, Nursery, Shoreline Highway, Stinson Bus Stop and Sequoia Valley, ending its route at Tam at 8:15 a.m. 

Due to the storm, the usual routes that commuters take have not been safe enough to where the bus can travel its usual route without any risks..

Students on the bus have faced many issues while taking the commute to Tam, such as flooding knocked down trees, which have resulted in having to re-route their way to school. 

“The obstacles that we face during a storm are electrical wires and trees laying out in the middle of the road. The bus driver is then not capable of picking us up at our stops. Therefore, we have to communicate with others to figure out where the bus is located,” Tam junior Mireili Garcia said. 

Students have been late to class because of the bus having to figure out different routes to school while avoiding weather conditions. “It usually ends up with us being late. For instance, we have been 20 minutes late to school because we had to take a different route because the roads are either closed or too flooded,” Garcia said. 

Garcia recalls the stress and amount of time it took to get Stinson Beach and Bolinas students all on the bus, “Last time we faced these conditions, it took about 20 minutes to get everyone on the bus,” Garcia said.