New parent drop-off location increases back lot traffic jams

From the long lines of traffic to the morning parent drop off situation, parking has always been an issue at Eastern. For the 2018-19 school year, Eastern has addressed some of these issues by angling the parking spaces, moving parent drop off to the back, and limiting the entrances that can be used.

   “We felt that we had managed to get the parking lot safe by creating one directional traffic in the middle lane,” said Mr. Tull. “This way students don’t have to try and dodge cars coming at them.”

   However, there was still the issue of students trying to reverse park in the tree-line street that enters the school.

  “Kids were taking their cars, almost K-turning it and stopping traffic to try and back into the spots,” said Mr. Tull. He also commented that there were a couple accidents due to kids just pulling out. In reaction to this, the spots were angled to make it easier to move in and out of spots, therefore helping the traffic flow in the morning.

   One senior, Gabby Payne, likes how the spots are slanted in the back row, but she doesn’t agree with the parent drop off in the back. “The neighborhood is extremely backed up and it makes me late to school all the time,” she said.

  Parent drop off was moved to the rear of the school due to a recommendation from the School Safety Committee, along with suggestions to limit the

entrances to the school back at 906 and the main area.

   However, the change is not as simple as it seems. “Last year, the biggest problem was coming up Laurel Oak Road to the school, and now the problem is coming out of Lost Tree and the developments,” said Tull.

   As long as students have been driving to school, there has always been congestion as there is only one main road in and out of the school. There is no way to completely get rid of the traffic issue, but there are things that students can do to try to smoothen the process.

  “One thing that will help us tremendously is to try and find ways to get students that don’t drive to school on the buses,” said Tull. “We have 400-450 cars drop kids off in morning and nearly empty buses.”

   Another senior, Elyse Proctor, mentioned how she thinks parent drop off is stupid. The district sends out buses for all three towns for kids without a car to take for a reason. “The parents dropping their kids off cause an excess amount of traffic,” she said.

   Kelly Pilkauskas, who is a junior and gets dropped off at school said getting dropped off out front was much more efficient, due to being closer to her classes and avoiding traffic. “I have to wake up earlier than in past years and I am more tired in the afternoon,” she said.

  “Some students have to leave a little earlier to get to school or where they once stayed away from 561, now they have reverted back that way,” said Tull.

    In Eastern’s population, reviews of the new system are mixed, but most students aren’t enthused by the change. Senior Michelle Litvak said, “Once the juniors start getting their license, then traffic conditions will get so much worse and everyone will get affected. If I don’t leave before 6:50, I always get stuck in traffic.”

   Ultimately, though, these changes were made due to safety and efficiency concerns, and will likely stick around unless any major issues arise.