In a post to the high school blog, dumais.us/newtown/blog, Newtown High School Principal Charles Dumais announced a “Morning Traffic Experiment,” as the post was titled, early Tuesday, November 19.
“Morning traffic at Newtown High School is replete with challenges — parents dropping off students, student drivers, buses, commuters accessing I-84, two traffic lights, and a traffic control officer who tries to coordinate it all. It has been suggested that, even with all of the challenges, traffic conditions might be smoother without a traffic control officer directing the flow of traffic on Route 34 at the high school entrance,” Mr Dumais wrote.
He said internal adjustments at the school have been made, like having buses drop off farther up the driveway, encouraging parents to do the same, and separating bus and auto lanes.
“After coordinating with the Newtown Police Department, Newtown High School Security, and All-Star Transportation, we are prepared to try a three-day trial (mornings only from Monday, November 25 until Wednesday, November 27) without the traffic control officer to see if an adjustment improves traffic flow,” the principal wrote. The personnel from the high school, the police department and All-Star Transportation will be monitoring traffic during these mornings.
Mr Dumais explained on Tuesday that morning traffic is different from afternoon traffic as buses arrive at the school at differing times in the mornings. In the afternoons, he said, a traffic control officer is needed to ensure the buses leave at the same time.
The post went on to say, “In order for this trial to be successful, we will need cooperation, patience, and goodwill from all of our drivers. We are asking that you make every effort to minimize disruption to the natural flow of traffic and maximize the ease with which buses travel into and out of the driveway. Maintaining smooth, continuous bus traffic will ensure that all of our students arrive at all of our schools on time and will reduce or eliminate the need for additional personnel to coordinate traffic. In other words, please help the buses keep moving and, when necessary, please let the other person go.
“We’ll see how it works,” Mr Dumais said on Tuesday following the blog post.
Mr Dumais also said the biggest part of the experiment will be getting notice out to people outside of the community who may drive through Newtown during their morning commute. With traffic, Mr Dumais said “we have to take a leap of faith” and “be courteous with other drivers.”
If the traffic experiment does not work, Mr Dumais said the system will return to using a traffic control officer in the mornings.