Traffic Turnaround: New campus driving plan causes unanticipated school traffic

Piper+Middle+School+uses+cones+to+block+incoming+traffic.+This+is+one+of+the+new+safety+precautions+implemented+for+pedestrian+safety.+

Annalia Escalante

Piper Middle School uses cones to block incoming traffic. This is one of the new safety precautions implemented for pedestrian safety.

Annalia Escalante, Arts & Entertainment Editor

On Oct. 4, Piper Middle School created a new driving route to increase the safety of student pedestrians. This route, which only allows both middle and high school drivers to take the same entrance and exit, has resulted in a larger than usual traffic jam in early mornings, affecting many students.

“The traffic is so bad, and it takes about 15 minutes to get through the line,” said junior Amaya Lawal. “I’m late about two days a week, at least, to get through the line. People don’t follow traffic rules so it makes it harder.”

Independence Blvd. is one of the three entrances to the high school campus, but it is now blocked off by cones in the morning and afternoons. This has caused many drivers to find different driving routes to avoid the middle school drop-off line.

“The traffic flow changes that were made by the team of school personnel and traffic engineers was one that was designed to improve student safety on campus,” said high school assistant principal John Tytla.  “Nobody likes being caught in traffic, but it is better to be a little late than risk having someone hurt trying to get to school in the morning.”

Since the traffic flow changes, traffic congestion has increased tremendously on Hutton Rd. due to it being the only road with an open entrance directly to the high school. Students are caught in a long line, making many of them late to their first hour class.

“The teachers have not been lenient about being tardy,” Lawal said. “They have removed the 10 minute grace period, pushing it down to 5 minutes when they have not solved the traffic problem.”

There are too many students for such a little school, which is why they should pass the bond to build a new school”

— Amaya Lawal

Another concern has been for the safety of drivers, and the new plan was made in hopes of improving it.

“There was concern for pedestrian traffic and also car traffic,” said middle school principal Stephen Mercer. “In the previous plan, there were cars going five different directions in an area of about 1200 square feet. We now have all traffic flowing in one direction, safer for all drivers.”

The increase of student drivers has also added on to the traffic issues, making them worse than what it has been in prior years. Piper is a community that is growing rapidly, making campus space a topic of conversation in recent discussions.

“There really is no solution to the problem,” Lawal said. “There are too many students for such a little school, which is why they should pass the bond to build a new school.”

In the meantime, assistant principal John Tytla shares advice on what students can do to help the driving concerns

“All safety concerns that we have noticed have been shared with Dr. Dain and we are constantly analyzing the traffic flow and parking lots to try and stay ahead of any potential safety concerns,” Tytla said. “I would encourage everyone to drive within the speed limit in the school zone, and try to stay as observant as possible when driving on campus so that they can hopefully avoid any potentially unsafe situations.”