Archive for Thursday, August 17, 2006

Traffic flow altered at school

August 17, 2006

The days of driving east to west through the parking lot at Nottingham Elementary School have come to a complete stop. Likewise, the school's pickup policy has shifted lanes with the installation of modular classrooms.

"The traffic patterns are the biggest change by far," Nottingham Elementary School Principal Jim Lauer said.

The most noticeable change to the traffic patterns will be lack of entry from Church Street. In the past, the entrance from Church Street allowed traffic to cut a free path to Elm Street across Nottingham's campus. The path became a favorite shortcut of high school students and residents who lived in the area.

Because the modular units mean more students walking across Nottingham's parking lot to class, recess and lunch, the district labored to radically change traffic flow to the building.

The end result is a fence separating the mobile units from the current Church Street driveway. The current drive on the east side of the building is reserved for employee parking.

The former parking lot will be replaced with a large crosswalk, which the first-graders in the modular units will use.

"I think it will be inconvenient for a number of people for the first few days, but I think for the safety of the kids and the safety of the school, it will be a great advantage for everybody here at the school," Lauer said.

In addition to closing the Church Street entrance, the new plan also changes how cars enter from Elm Street. The new pickup plan calls for parents to enter the Nottingham parking lot via the south Elm Street entrance near the football stadium. After entering, traffic will flow one-way north to the school before eventually exiting back to Elm Street.

As the traffic flows south to north, the movement will be limited to three lanes. The two outside lanes will be reserved for traffic while the inside lane will have no traffic and is to be used by drivers to pick up or drop off students.

The Elm Street circle drive will be reserved for the loading and unloading of buses. No other parking will be allowed.

Although the traffic situation at Nottingham has changed drastically, other aspects remain the same. Children walking to school will be able to use the same routes as before. Parents wishing to walk into the building with their children are asked to park in the parking lot near Elm Street and walk to the school or classroom.

Once patrons settle into the new traffic patterns, the modular units shouldn't translate to many more changes for Nottingham, Lauer said.

"The transition time I think won't lead to very big loss of instruction time," Lauer said. "I think, though, this year we'll continue to get better and quicker and it won't be much of an impact at all to the kids in the classroom."

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