Ten ways to reduce school traffic
Reduce school traffic in September with these easy steps. Between the first day of school and Back to School night we are all a bit crazed. A little planning will help a great deal.
1. Expect heavier traffic in September
In September it can take forever to exit the school-drop-off area, easily extending a 10 minute trip to 45.
Backpacks full with supplies, unfamiliar school-year routines, new shoes and early mornings all mean more kids getting rides. Eventually, parents will find alternatives, but this article will help you find them sooner.
Congestion is likely to be worse than usual for New Providence Middle and High Schools. More kids, about ~15%, will be starting at the same time with the elimination of zero period. Minimize the impact of traffic jams on your family, by working out alternatives to the front circle.
2. Choose a DROP ‘n GO for days when lines are long and time is short
Each elementary school has two lists. Public options are next to a Crossing Guard or well trafficked. Parent-only options may be more remote. Elementary school parent teacher groups will provide parent-only sign-in links
If you are late for work then it helps to have already planned out your alternative DROP ‘n GO with your family. Running late for pick up? Then have a remote meet up arranged if your kids are old enough.
3. Leave 10 minutes early
In the beginning of the Drop Off window traffic is often quite light.
4. Pull all the way forward before stopping at curb
- Have backpacks and gear ready to go.
- Exit only from the curb side of the car.
- Explain to your kids ahead of time why stopping in front of the door can slow traffic throughput by a factor of 3 times
5. Turn right when there is a long line of cars behind you to reduce traffic
UPS found making mostly right turns saves on time and gas. Some days you’ll see a line of cars behind you as far as the eye can see. Rather than all idling waiting for cars to turn left, it may be quicker for all if you turn right, even if it makes your trip home longer.
We’ve timed it at our local schools, and it should reduce school congestion as well. If the police made right turns mandatory at certain intersections then it would have to be for a 3 hour period, which is a less desirable solution. Educating each other is better.
Also, more crossing-path crashes come from left turns than right turns according to federal and New York City studies.
6. Turn right rule doesn’t apply to exiting your school’s front circle
Using all the exit routes available generally speeds things along. Also, since many of the cars in front of the school are headed to school, they have to let you exit the school driveway in order for others to enter the driveway. The “turn right rule” generally applies to town roads.
7. Bring your school supplies in gradually over the first week.
Middle and High school students – Consider bringing in your supplies in the afternoon or evening when things are calmer. Elementary school parents – If you are planning on parking and walking your kids in then that is a great time to bring in supplies. If you are dropping off then a year’s worth of supplies probably don’t have to all come in on the same day.
8. Walk and Roll to reduce school traffic
The easiest way to avoid vehicular traffic is to walk or roll to school. Getting out on the first day is hardest for my family. After that the natural beauty and exercise is its own reward. On nice days our carpool became a walking school bus. Tag your photos #WalkNP!
— Sarah Gioe (@sarahgioe) April 27, 2018
9. Build a community
Whether it’s meeting up with friends before school or chatting on the way home, the more kids out walking and, the more we’re investing in our own communities. Also, it wakes our bodies up – spending those early morning minutes energizing your body means less likelihood of still being drowsy once you get to school. Walking gets all of our engines going.
If the morning went wonky and our kids don’t have 20 minutes to walk, then they still might have 10 if I get them halfway and use a remote DROP ‘n GO.
10. It takes a village
If each family avoids the front circle once a week, that would cut school traffic by 20% each day. The impact of car pooling can also be huge.
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