On the first day of school Wednesday, the traffic backed up a mile from Deer Creek High School, and vehicles didn’t move.
In a rapidly growing school district where sidewalks are not as common as bar ditches along rural roads, the first day of school was a traffic jam.
“Congestion is a problem at intersections of two-lane roads without any left turn lanes,” said Lenis DeRieux, Deer Creek Schools assistant superintendent. “The high school and administration building sit at such an intersection with buses, parents and students directed by sheriff’s deputies from Oklahoma County.”
DeRieux said although there are still long lines in certain areas, the school district feels the beginning of school has gone well.
“We have eliminated time off from our first couple of days due to our new routes which helped us get kids to school earlier these first couple of days than in the prior years,” DeRieux said. “It takes about a week for everything to smooth out for regular traffic and transportation times.”
Day two was not as bad. But around several elementary schools, such as Spring Creek Elementary, and Deer Creek Elementary, buses were stuck in traffic up to 30 minutes.
At Spring Creek, just north of N.W. 150 and N. Rockwell Ave., parents said it took about 10 minutes to drop off students there Thursday. But a four-way stop sign at N.W. 150 takes a traffic police officer to help direct traffic with no stoplight, at this school in the city limits of Oklahoma City.
At Rose Union Elementary, parents use the North Pointe Baptist Church parking lot in a mostly rural area on N.W. 220 just east of N. MacArthur. Two-lane roads surround the school for a square mile and the church parking lot provides space.
But Thursday, due to a funeral the good will of the church toward the school had to be reserved for funeral parking.
Traffic bottlenecked. Parents said a text alert from the school district helped them to plan ahead that afternoon for the pickup time.
DeRieux said, “The areas that seem backed up have, and may always be an issue, especially in the beginning of school where one lane roads exist without turning lanes.”
School administrators report that this year, the district is no longer picking up students who live within a half mile of a school.
They added that the district’s growing pains are felt in the transportation department, and bus drivers are needed.