SMHS Traffic: The Daily Headache

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SMHS Traffic: The Daily Headache

Kendall Snyder, Author

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The commute to school in the morning has never been something that people have looked forward to, especially at Spring Mills High School. The morning traffic here has never been pretty, and each year it gets more and more congested. 

Right now, there are three modes of transportation — buses, parent drop-off, and student driving — and three ways of getting to the high school: entering at the start of Campus Drive, driving through the nearby neighborhood, Hammond’s Mill, or by testing your chances on the unpaved, county-owned DuPont Road. Students have recently been banned from taking Dupont, as car accidents have deemed it too dangerous to be a normal transportation route. 

As of now, we’re left with two routes to get to school. One of which is plagued with stoplights, the other with stop signs, and traffic on both routes often comes to a standstill in the early morning.  

“I know so many people who live in Hammond’s Mill, and it usually only takes them about five minutes to get to school. But with traffic, it takes them almost 20 minutes,” said junior Jillian Bowman. 

“I used to take DuPont Road because it was the only way I could make it to school if I left at a decent time,” said senior Brianna Cline. “Now that I can’t, I have to leave at least 10 minutes earlier than before, and I still end up late sometimes because of the traffic on Campus Drive.” 

So, how could we solve this schoolwide problem? There is one solution that many students have been discussing this year: paving DuPont Road. After all, another entrance to the school would definitely decongest traffic. If DuPont was paved, however, a stoplight would need to be put in at its intersection with Route 11 to ensure students’ safety, and this would take quite a sum of money to do. On top of this, the county would have to approve of the plan before anything would be executed. 

Another option would be to add turning lanes. If there were turning lanes, some of the traffic would be alleviated, as cars making left turns often hold up other cars in the morning because the cars behind it must wait for it to turn, even if they aren’t turning. Adding lanes may be difficult as well because it would be expensive and would disrupt traffic even more. Even if it was done in the summer, it could still cause a traffic issue. 

Some easier solutions, though smaller-scale, are asking people who drive to carpool, having the stoplights on 901 synchronized so that they give cars entering or leaving the school a longer green light during pick-up and drop-off times, allowing them to get the traffic in and out faster, or opening the school building earlier. Opening the school earlier, especially in the winter, would allow for parent-driven students to be dropped off earlier and, if this happens, it would make the traffic at the normal time just a little less hectic. 

As of right now, the morning traffic situation is being handled the best way that it can with the school’s limitations, but with the growing student population, even solutions that seem like they won’t do a lot should be explored in order to ensure that students get to school on time safely and efficiently.

Map of SMHS School Area