Break for Buses

The Mill Valley City Council has identified reducing traffic congestion as a priority and has taken measures to improve circulation in the community. These include supporting the Yellow School Bus Pilot Project, working with the Mill Valley School District to adjust bell times, and several other changes to reduce traffic congestion.

As the new school year commences this fall, students from Edna Maguire and Strawberry Point Elementary Schools, as well as Mill Valley Middle School, will participate in the Yellow School Bus Program to travel to and from school. More than 100 students will participate in the program, and we can expect to see two school buses on our streets during the school year, which starts August 23rd.

We are very excited about this program, its role in reducing traffic congestion, as well as the convenience for our students and their parents. We want to make sure you are aware of the relevant traffic laws concerning school buses. These laws apply whether you are traveling in the same direction or opposite direction as the school bus (see below).

Flashing Yellow Lights: School bus lights will flash yellow when the bus is preparing to stop to let children off, indicating that you should slow down and prepare to stop.

Flashing Red Lights/Extended Stop Arms: Drivers must stop for school buses when their red lights flash until the children are safely across the street and the lights stop flashing. You must also stop when school buses deploy their “Stop Arms,” the red stop signs that swing out from the sides of the bus, and must remained stopped until the Stop Arms are positioned against the sides of the bus again.

Drivers must stop, even if you are traveling in the opposite lane of traffic, for as long as the red lights or Stop Arms are deployed.

If a motorist fails to stop, not only are our children placed at a very real risk, but, you may be fined up to $1,000 and your driving privilege could be suspended for 1 year (CVC §22454).


  1. If the bus is on a street divided by a median or barrier (like in some areas of Miller Avenue), the cars on the opposite side of the median do not need to stop.
  2. If there is a bus driver, crossing guard, or law enforcement officer signaling you to pass the bus, you may proceed with caution.

Other Safety Tips:
As school approaches, please be mindful of the safety of the children as they walk and ride to school. Be aware of school zone speed limits (25 mph when children are present) and watch for crossing guards and students as they are crossing the street. As important as it is for everyone to get to their destination on time, the safety of our children is much greater. Please do your part to make this a safe school year for the students and the adults who are providing for their safety.

To learn more about the Pilot Yellow School Bus Program, please click here.

If you have questions, please contact Allely Albert, Community Services Officer, Mill Valley Police Department at (415) 389-4100 or