The sound of the alarm clock on Monday morning starts the race for parents and students to make it out the door and begin their journey to school. Instead of waiting for a big yellow bus, private passenger vehicles are the leading means of transportation for elementary, junior high, and high school students. This new trend is creating traffic safety and congestion issues at many schools across the nation and here in Illinois.
Reduce Risk & Congestion
An intuitive and well-planned school campus can make other modes of transportation easier and safer, to help reduce the dependence on private vehicles.
- Consider Pedestrian and Bike Paths: Provide paths for walkers and bike riders to enter the school campus at protected locations that minimize conflict with cars or school bus traffic. Add stalls for bike parking.
- Split up loading zones: Separate school bus loading areas from student drop-off areas. Preferably, each loading zone should be on opposite sides of the school building.
- Look at where students are loading: Student loading should be from the passenger side of the vehicle and designed to flow with afternoon dismissal queues from waiting parents.
- Increase on-site parking: Most schools have enough parking for their staff and some visitors, but heavily rely on street parking for students and special events. Overflow street parking slows the movement of traffic, decreases road visibility and causes traffic safety issues.
School Parking Needs and Illinois Zoning Laws
As mentioned in our post, Zoning Law for Illinois School Districts: Continuing Challenges and Opportunities, new schools or expansions at existing schools now come under municipal review and approvals. Many zoning codes are requiring more school parking. Although parking consultants can help schools attain a parking variance to reduce the number of required parking spaces, if overflow parking is a regular issue, adding on-site parking may still be required.
For more information about K-12 traffic and parking solutions, please contact EEA’s Director of Traffic Engineering, Steve Corcoran at firstname.lastname@example.org.