Insufficient traffic direction slows student arrival

Recently, transportation to school has been a major inconvenience for students, whether they ride the bus, drive or get dropped off. For student drivers, the issue has been especially prevalent.

Since the beginning of the school year, parents and student drivers have been required to enter the campus off of Westfield Boulevard. Although this is the accepted policy, administration’s enforcement has been widely inconsistent, leading to confusion among the student body. 

Many students continue to enter from 86th Street, even though it is against the rules. Administrators expect all cars to enter the school via the Westfield entrance, which conflicts with the new east-west student drop off road and intersects Panther Boulevard, the primary north-south road. 

Over 500 parking passes have been issued this year for student drivers. With over 500 cars of student drivers alone, as well as parents dropping off their children, efficient entry into the school becomes nearly impossible. With such a slow entry process, many students prefer to enter via 86th Street. Students who disregard Westfield and enter from 86th Street may have their license plate number recorded and are subject to a conversation with a traffic officer or an administrator.

Northbound traffic entering NC from the southern side of Westfield becomes congested about a half-mile away from the entrance. The average time it takes to drive this half-mile is 11 minutes. To put that into perspective, that’s a speed of about 2.7 miles per hour. For students who normally drive about 12-15 minutes to school, due to the recent traffic direction difficulties, it has taken up to 50 minutes for some to drive to school. 

At the intersection of Panther Boulevard and the new east-west road that connects to the Westfield entrance, a traffic guard directs all of the cars either entering or exiting school. This intersection is the culprit of many of the difficulties for students entering campus. As soon as one westbound car approaches the intersection from the student dropoff line, student traffic is forced to stop. 

Hundreds of cars with students who need to get to school on time are stopped every time a parent needs to leave. From the perspective of students, this puts out a message that the school prioritizes parent departure over student attendance, especially if there is an option for more efficient arrival. It is unreasonable for transportation time to school to take up to four times longer than normal if a simple traffic direction change can be made.

To add to the difficulties of arriving at school on time, the recent removal of homeroom at the beginning of the school day is no help. Homeroom was temporarily instituted at the expense of classroom time in order to provide a buffer for bus-riding students to arrive at school without receiving a tardy. Now that the majority of students are arriving on time, homeroom has been removed. First period starts at 8:30 and anyone who arrives after it receives a tardy.

Arriving at school on time for student drivers is largely the responsibility of the student, for they decide when they leave home. In a case such as this when the school does not prioritize student traffic, the responsibility is no longer the student’s. Traffic efficiency should increase with the opening of a new student parking lot in the near future, as well as the hopeful opening of an entrance on 86th Street for student drop-off. With these two additions, student arrival should be prioritized and the entry process should begin to run smoother.