Change of direction set for Alma Schrader Elementary

Friday, December 14, 2012

EDITOR'S NOTE: The spelling of Raelenna Ferguson's name has been corrected.

The pattern for dropping off and picking up schoolchildren at Alma Schrader Elementary School will be altered next week as the school tests a new traffic plan to alleviate afternoon traffic congestion.

Principal Ruth Ann Orr said the plan, presented Tuesday to members of the Alma Schrader PTO, received a positive response from parents and teachers. To be tested next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, plans call for a reversal of the traffic pattern at Alma Schrader, which currently consists of two entry points located on Janet Drive and a single exit onto Randol Avenue. Instead, there will be a single entry to the school from Randol Avenue and two exits onto Janet Drive.

"We hope it works," Orr said. "We've been thinking of a new way to handle the afternoon traffic problem, and we hope this makes for a smoother entry and exit for vehicles."

While morning traffic isn't particularly a problem, Orr said, it's the number of students picked up by parents in the afternoon that has led to frustration for years.

"In the mornings, many students rely on buses to get them to school, so there aren't as many students being dropped off by parents," she said. "But, in the afternoon, more parents have taken to coming to get their kids in their cars, and it's created a logjam."

With 150 out of 425 students picked up in the afternoon, Orr called the current traffic pattern at the school outdated. She said it also causes problems for parents and for people who live near the school.

"Our traffic pattern for pickups and drop-offs has been in place for 50 years," she said. "The streets we utilize were never designed to handle the volume of traffic that we now have. With more and more parents coming to pick up their kids in the afternoon, the line out in the street to get into our driveway is a long one. It prevents parents from getting in and out quickly, and residents from being able to get to their homes."

Neil Glass, Cape Girardeau public schools' assistant superintendent for administrative services, likes the idea of reversing the traffic pattern.

Glass pointed out that one exit on Janet Drive during the testing period will be for making a right turn; the other will be for left turns.

"Parents will be able to get into the lane they need to be in," he said. "It should make things easier and safer. Having specific lanes should greatly reduce instances of cars trying to jag back and forth in traffic to make a right or left turn."

Glass noted the Cape Girardeau Police Department is in favor of the plan. He hopes testing goes well enough for it to be implemented permanently by the start of a new semester Jan. 3.

"If it doesn't work," he said, "we'll go back to how it was before. But it doesn't hurt to try something new."

Raelenna Ferguson, a parent of two children attending Alma Schrader Elementary, is looking forward to the changes.

"I hope the changes work out for the best," she said. "It can be frustrating when I pick up my kids there. Over time I've learned to get there early so I can be fourth or fifth in line, which means I have to get there 20 or 25 minutes before the last bell rings. I just sit there and wait, but it's a method that works for the madness."

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

1360 Randol Ave., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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