Our overpopulated Senior High School...that is an accident waiting to happen in itself already...is trying to close a street that separates the the school from the athletics fields. The school administration says the street is dangerous and a threat to students crossing it during school hours and it should be closed. Others say it is a land grab by the school to increase building space while others say closing the street won't solve the problem...only divert traffic to other sides of the school and create an inconvenience to local traffic.
In their infinite wisdom our Mayor and City Council have ordered the street closed during school hours and a traffic count taken. Our foot-wide newspaper has been running a daily traffic report...with both sides of the issue taking part. The school says no complaints...the neighbors say otherwise.
To check things out I drove around the school and neighboring streets to see how the traffic count was being conducted. What I found was that there appears to be no traffic counting equipment in place...anywhere. Are they just running the test during school arrival and departure times then pulling the equipment or are they having the Calculus class come in early? I don't know. To run a meaningful count one would think that they would have counters on every street within a few blocks of the school 24/7 to note where the increases or decreases in flow are occurring. Obviously not the case. This morning a couple union guys were diverting traffic away from the school at State and Custer...after painting the intersection crosswalks. Why would you schedule this during a valid traffic count? I think the whole thing is a ruse by the City and School and that there will be a permanent street closing after the "comprehensive study."
A few options the school might have is to build a safe skywalk or tunnel over/under the street. What I did notice this morning was that the closing of College Street at the school provides a better view of students crossing it where it is closed. Maybe a permanent ban on parking on College Street south of the school would be a safe and serious consideration? Passing motorists would have a better chance of spotting little Betty or Bobby as they step off the curb. One would think a high school student would have learned how to cross a street safely by their junior year. Another option would be build a second high school on the south side of town and reduce the number of students jammed into Senior High? That place ever catches fire or a disaster strikes...the present Senior High will be a tragic scene.
One comment in the foot-wide paper also caught my attention. One local said the traffic problem now extends to the Five Points area...that traffic is backed up. For about a half hour to an hour each morning it is a busy intersection because of local school traffic...shortlived. This scene has gone on for years...not just recently. You would think this is Houston or Denver listening to some people. If you can't handle the pressure of 5 Points at "rush hour"...leave earlier or later...or find an alternate route.