|County Schools officials seeking LHS traffic solution|
|Tuesday, August 7, 2012|
By PATRICK HALL
After a little more than a week of school, Wilson County School System started a traffic study at the new Lebanon High School to determine the number of vehicles driving in and out each day on top of traffic pattern changes to alleviate jams getting on and off campus.
Director of Schools Mike Davis said during the Board of Education meeting Monday night the system started counting vehicles Tuesday to measure the volume of traffic at the school after many complaints of students arriving late to class and parents being stuck in traffic in the morning.
“We have a new building that we have to get accustom to and people had some issues with traffic,” Davis said of the first week at the new LHS.
But as a result, Burton and Davis said changes were made to help ease traffic flow to and from the school with positive results so far.
“The original plan was to route everyone in one direction, after you enter the campus, you exit to the right, around the building,” Burton said.
However, that led to problems with exiting traffic coming to a four-way stop and having to cross over the traffic entering the campus at the main gate. Burton said they recognized the problems in having vehicles exiting the campus cross traffic coming onto the campus.
“The exiting traffic was slowing down the entering traffic,” he said.
Those leaving the school were then re-routed around the athletic fields, which comes out at the same four-way stop, but instead gives exiting traffic a right-hand turn onto Blue Devil Boulevard, instead of crossing the lane for traffic coming onto campus.
Also, a stop sign that required traffic on Blue Devil Boulevard to stop before passing through the main gate of the campus was removed. Burton said it slowed traffic in the morning when so many vehicles are coming onto campus.
“Everyone there in the morning was stopping, even though the crossing guard was waving them on,” he said.
Also, Davis noted several speed bumps are to be removed in the near future to help traffic flow. Burton said removing the speed bumps would not be a detriment to safety as there are still plenty to keep vehicles moving slowly on campus.
“There are quite a few speed bumps, so there won’t be speeding traffic when some are removed,” Burton said.
Compared to the old LHS campus, Burton said the new one is much safer, despite the traffic snarls to start the year. He said parents dropped students off in a “very open campus” and students could get to the school in many ways.
He said that safety was a greater concern than any traffic congestion and noted the new campus is much safer for pedestrians and motorists.
“It was not safe in the old school where people could drop off in the general area,” Burton said. “This new campus is much better and much safer.”
Davis noted the new school has increased its enrollment with the start of the year and said there are around 1,700 students at LHS this year. Burton also said the number of students being dropped off by parents or driving to school has increased compared to those riding busses.
Burton also noted the school system is looking at installing bicycle racks at the school for students to lock bicycles during the day. He said there are at least four students he has met who ride their bikes to school and have to lock them onto the chain-link fence on campus.
“We are in the process of looking if we can install them and where to put the racks,” Burton said.
Although the system is adjusting to the new campus and the traffic congestion, Burton said these problems are nothing out of the ordinary for the school system when starting a new school year.
“Every school year we have issues like this with traffic at the start of the year” Burton noted.