Between positive shout outs to parents and students at the end of school day at the intersection of Magnolia Lane and Elmwood Drive, Elmwood Elementary School Safety Director and PE teacher Corby Howard was busy training members of the student safety patrol while directing the steady stream of school-related traffic.
Having to contend with both walkers and bus riders, Elmwood staff implemented a new traffic drop off and pick up system this year in part to help manage an increase in student enrollment.
Howard said, a second drop off point for vehicles was added for the morning drop off. However, he said, afternoon pickup only has one car pickup line. As a result, there is an increase in the number of parents parking vehicles along adjacent streets and walking up to the school to retrieve their child.
Howard said Elmwood School faces a number of safety challenges because the neighborhood streets do not have parkways and the sidewalks are located near the streets. In addition, the streets are slightly narrow and there is not much room for the buses to get past the vehicles.
Like Elmwood, Naperville area school district administrators are grappling with how best to provide the safest environment for their students to enter and exit school. Naperville Police are encouraging motorists to be extra cautious in and around school zones.
Crime Prevention Specialist Julie Smith said children are often impulsive and difficult to see. “They often ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street and are more likely to cross at the wrong place.”
She said that the best thing that drivers can do is be alert and obey the posted 20 mph school zone speed limit. When one driver slows down, other drivers also will slow down leaving more time to react to a potential hazard, Smith added.
The lower speed limits reduce the chances of a collision. If a collision does occur, it lowers the severity.
“Drivers aren’t the only ones who need to follow the rules of the road,” Smith said. “It’s also important for pedestrians to follow the rules and not jaywalk, cross at a red light, or text while walking.”
Pedestrians should never dart out between parked cars, she added. “They need to cross at corners or marked crosswalks.”
Smith contends that many motorists are confused over whether they should stop for a bus on a four lane roadway. Drivers going in the opposite direction of a bus on a four lane roadway do not need to stop. However, motorists traveling in the same direction as the bus on a four-lane roadway must stop.
Illinois law requires drivers on a two-lane roadway in both directions to stop for school buses with lights flashing and the stop sign lowered.
She added that motorists should never tailgate a bus and always yield to a school bus if merging.
At Elmwood, Howard said motorists need to understand that things will be moving slowly as the school adjusts to its increased enrollment which has resulted in additional bus and pedestrian traffic.
He stressed that all motorists need to be patient. “Priority number one is keeping everyone safe.”Tags: Naperville School District 203, safety