In the loop: Changes made to help afternoon traffic flow

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A new traffic plan, designed to ease after-school congestion,was implemented one month ago Tuesday. (Photo by KENZIE MUENZER)

By CARLY WANNA, Gazebo Editor

Blake Hendley had gotten used to walking to his car parked in the junior parking lot near the the fieldhouse at 3:15 p.m. every day after school.  

Now, Hendley walks to his car parked in the new parking lot next to the tennis courts at the later dismissal time of 3:20.  

Surprisingly, it’s not the change in dismissal time by five minutes or switching  lots that bothers him.  

Traffic is terrible, backed up all the way to the entrance,” said Hendley. “Takes me way longer to get out, and it’s just not good.”

Stratford officials made a series of changes to the carpool structure beginning one month ago today on February 8.  An executive committee, led by head of school Dr. Robert Veto, decided to implement the modifications in reaction to traffic problems resulting from a “perfect storm” – the construction of the Lower School Building and the beginning of various spring sports.

Middle School pick-up moved across campus to the front of the flagpole, and the Upper School now releases at 3:20.  Additionally, juniors and seniors are required to park in a different lot — dubbed “The Pit” by students —  a newly constructed parking area between the tennis courts and baseball field.

Veto believes some of the changes have been extremely successful, including the movement of Middle School pick-up.  Lower School carpool immediately moved faster, but Middle School carpool can become congested.  

“Next year we’ll have to revisit that question,” he said. “We might have to make some changes to carpool anyway with the Lower School shifting up further around the loop.”

He mentioned the school may bring in a traffic engineer to study the campus and develop the most efficient system.

The new junior and sophomore lot requires students to walk through lower school carpool traffic, so the administration encourages Upper School students to cross the street in groups of 5-10 students.

“It’s been a year of transitions in terms of parking,” said Assistant Upper School Principal Chance Reynolds.  “I appreciate everybody being cooperative and letting us work out the small details.”

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Additional changes in carpool traffic flow could be considered for next year. (Photo by MARY LYNES SUTTON, Gazebo Staff)