CSE PARKING AND DROP-OFF PRACTICES
During the first month of school, Buildings and Grounds Director Brent Neisinger and I have had opportunity to observe and monitor the process of dropping off students at Cold Spring Elementary School.
The process has improved over the last couple of years, but we continue to work to improve safety issues within the drop area. I wanted to take some time to inform and remind district residents of a few of our practices and expectations in the area.
REMINDER ABOUT BUS ZONE
The bus drop and pick-up area is on the west side of Cold Spring Elementary School. Prior to the start and at the end of the school day, the parking lot between Cold Spring Elementary and the Secondary site is our bus loading and unloading zone. We need vehicles to respect this area both before and after school to provide a safe zone for all of our students.
After 7:45 in the morning, we bring the vast majority of our students into this area to drop them off for school. Beginning about 2:45 in the afternoon, the area also becomes our bus loading zone for all of the students at the Cold Spring campus. Although the parking lots are not “through streets” at any time, after 7:45 in the morning, we need all vehicles other than buses to stay out of the drop area in order to provide a safe zone for all of our students.
COLD SPRING ELEMENTARY DROP-OFF ZONE
Over the past several years, we have been taking specific steps to try to improve the vehicle travel into the Cold Spring Elementary building at the start and end of the school day. We want to use the “loop” through the CSE parking area as a drop-off route before school and as a pick-up route after school.
One of the goals is to keep traffic moving as efficiently as possible. Because of that, it is important that drivers of vehicles understand the overall process. The sidewalk across the east side of Cold Spring Elementary is a very nice “cement apron” area for students to be dropped off. The students have a solid base, good visibility, and relatively direct access to the school building.
We are encouraging two lanes of traffic across the front of CSE. The area is now marked as “one-way” for traffic but with two lanes of movement. The traffic is expected to move north to south across the concrete apron in front of the building.
Two traffic lanes allows much more flexibility and efficiency for vehicles in this area. At the north end, vehicles may choose to enter the striped parking spots to be able to park and/or assist students. These parking spaces have been angled to keep traffic moving in one direction—vehicles can easily flow into the spaces and then back out nicely consistent with the flow of traffic.
Other vehicles, not intending to park, are able to drive across the front of the CSE building to drop students off within the concrete plaza. With two lanes of traffic, when the vehicle has dropped off students, the driver can, at a minimum, pull into the left lane to keep traffic moving. Because traffic is moving, it is most safe for parents to have students exit on the passenger side of the vehicle. Students exiting on the driver side will step out into traffic!
One important adjustment we are asking drivers to observe is to stop, for drop-off, AFTER the crossing stripes and in the area that is now covered with green paint on the curb. The green curb identifies the area in which it is safest for students to be dropped off.
WALKING STUDENTS TO THE DOOR
We fully understand that some parents want to see and/or walk their students up to or into the building. That is very normal parent-student behavior, especially for parents of the youngest children at the site or for grandparents who may be dropping off students.
What we need parents to understand, however, is that if the driver needs to leave the seat, wants to walk the student to the door, or must go into the building, we need the vehicle to use a parking space. The parking space may be one of the parking spots on the south end of the loop or to use one of the angled, striped parking spaces north of the loop.
We have specifically designated the very last (south end) group of parking spaces as areas to remain open for visitors and parents wanting to walk their students into school. There are actually three rows of spaces designed for this purpose.
Within the loop itself, however, we want to have continually moving traffic! Even though it seems like a short time, the two to three minutes for students to walk to the building can back up quite a bit of traffic. As such, we want to remind drivers (parents and grandparents) to keep moving in the loop and to use appropriate parking spaces if they want to wait, walk, or observe their students entering school.
We have been watching, monitoring, and adjusting traffic patterns in an effort to improve the safety and efficiency of the traffic in front of Cold Spring Elementary. We believe the adjustments we have made continue to move us toward those goals. We also need those who use the drop zone to understand what is desired so that we can make it as safe as possible.
A map has also been included to help illustrate the efforts that have been put in place.
CORRECTION TO LAST WEEK
I have a correction to make from last week’s column! I am not really sure how I made the mistake I did, but I wrote that Sue Schmitz was selected to represent the food service staff in the Support Staff of Excellence recognition. Although Sue is a very good employee, the actual recipient of the award was Bonnie Schmitt. Both food service employees are at the Secondary site, so the location was accurate but not the name! I know the actual recipient from last spring and at the regional program was Bonnie!
Congratulations, Bonnie, on the recognition at the Support Staff of Excellence program!