Traffic study a good move

Published 9:27 pm Friday, November 25, 2011

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Building a middle school and a high school across the street from one another would make both facilities easily accessible to school administrators, both located right off of Godwin Boulevard, within a short drive of the downtown area. The four-lane section of Godwin would help manage school-related traffic. And a fire station located beside the middle school and across the street from the high school would increase the safety by reducing response times to the schools.

But in practice, according to people who fight the traffic associated with the schools twice a day, things have turned out far differently than had been expected. In reality, the traffic in front of both schools has been described by at least one parent as “very scary,” especially between 7:20 and 7:50 a.m. or so.

The problem is compounded by buses, hurried parents and novice high school drivers, in addition to the fact that the schools are built directly across the road from one another. With buses arriving and departing, parents delivering children to the schools and young drivers trying to gauge whether they have time to turn left across from approaching traffic, the snarl of traffic can be daunting for inexperienced drivers and frustrating for the rest. For fire trucks and ambulances needing to get to the scene of an emergency, the traffic could one day have tragic consequences.

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One parent has suggested a stoplight be installed, or at the very least the erection of signs that prohibit left turns from the high school’s parking lot, along with a re-routing of traffic. City Council has agreed that the situation needs to be examined and has directed that a traffic study be completed there and that a recommendation be returned.

Parents, students, faculty, school bus drivers and emergency services workers will all breathe a sigh of relief when a solution is found to the traffic problem. City Council was wise to set the process in motion.