The Garden City Telegram
10/25/2012
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

GCHS path

School district finds way to improved traffic plan.

Something as monumental as a move to a new high school won't happen without challenges.

When the new Garden City High School opened, traffic to and from the school with a one-way entrance/exit was one such snag.

In the morning, many motorists didn't realize two lanes turned left off Mary Street into the school. Many stayed in one lane — no doubt because that's the way to navigate many local intersections — and as a result, traffic stalled.

A traffic learning curve was to be expected at the new school, one for some 2,000 students and many staff members. Some inconvenience was unavoidable.

Traffic flow did improve in the days and weeks after the school opened as motorists become more accustomed to the layout, and used available traffic lanes and places to pick up and drop off students as intended.

Still, the situation had some arguing the original design was ill-conceived.

But it's not as if school officials took the traffic situation lightly. While safety was a driving force behind the original entrance design, district officials also knew it was important to make coming and going to GCHS as convenient as possible.

After GCHS opened, school officials continued working with city public works personnel and police in studying the traffic patterns. Eventually, district officials and the USD 457 Board of Education board settled on an alternative plan that would enable school officials to open a second way in and out when necessary — an additional entrance/exit made possible by construction of a new housing subdivision.

On Monday, the school board approved allowing the GCHS principal to open a back route connecting the student parking lot with Campus Drive at Pioneer Road in case of inclement weather, emergencies or other situations that generate more traffic.

Such a backup plan makes sense.

Having the benefit of watching traffic issues unfold helped lead the school district to a better plan — one that should make trips to GCHS an even safer and more convenient proposition.

The new high school understandably created challenges. With traffic, the district responded in a swift, prudent way in improving the situation, and now can move forward.