(EMILIE WALLIN / EYE OF THE TIGER)
To lighten the after school traffic, cars in the Senior Lot had fallen into the pattern of turning what is normally one lane of outgoing traffic into two, overtaking the lane usually used to enter.
However, school staff have recently begun monitoring the lot after school to keep cars that are exiting in a single lane.
The motivation behind enforcing the one-way traffic is for “safety” purposes; however, the main safety-related threat present in cars exiting through both lanes only occurs if there is traffic trying to enter the lot at the same time.
Directly after school ends, this is not the problem. No one needs to enter Senior Lot, and any cars aiming to park near RHS could and should find more convenient and safer options.
Officially reversing the direction of the lane directly after school ends would only alleviate the odds that a stray car might try to enter the lot.
Deciding to designate both lanes for outbound traffic in the minutes immediately after school ends would not be unprecedented.
In 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed into effect legislation which encourages reversible lane use – or changing the direction of a lane during specific times when high traffic can be expected in one direction and not the other.
Such practices are already being used in places like the the Golden Gate bridge and Caldecott Tunnel.
With the traffic and parking problems RHS has faced as of late – partially due to the campus, recent construction, and high student population – the circumstances call for reversible lanes after school hours. A high number of students are exiting in the same direction all at once, while there is little incoming traffic to places like Senior Lot.
Allowing only a single lane creates a line of congestion, which makes getting out of school a long and arduous process; at the same time, the train of cars attempting to leave spans the space behind parked cars, which often makes backing out a difficulty.
The combination of trying to back out with new drivers and impatient students who will not yield creates a window for accidents, transforming the one-way traffic from an annoyance to a “safety” hazard – the opposite of RHS’ goal.
A reversible lane would assuage the traffic congestion and require less human resources than having staff members redirect the traffic into a single lane, making it the most convenient and effective option.
Otherwise, RHS is following the rules just to follow rules, rather than efficiently solving the problems it faces.