MULLIGAN: Road construction could solve common alley traffic problem

Web_Mulligan_mugshotBY JOHNNY MULLIGAN
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Attending a school that is over 100 years old makes it easy to understand why the parking and traffic situation around school is horrible. There is almost no flow to the senior lot and having parents picking up their students further exacerbates the problem.

The most problematic but crucial, part of this troubled system is the alley that comes out next to the Senior Lot. The alley is one of the few parts of the school’s traffic that actually works – if used properly. Many parents do not realize how important the alley is to the success of the school’s traffic problem. When they try to make three point turns in front of the gym instead of going halfway down the alley and turning left, the already messed up situation is made even messier.

Then, when the alley is used, it isn’t used correctly. I play football and wrestle, so the times that I get to go home right after school are few and far in between. But every time I do drive down the alley I am shocked with how difficult it can be to get home.

The alley is full of students walking who pay no mind to the cars coming behind them. The already tight alley is packed tighter with an overwhelming number of students who occupy more than their fair share of the dilapidated asphalt.

If students walked more along the dirt, there would be plenty of room for the cars to drive past.

But on the other side there are drivers who decide to forgo responsibly dealing with pedestrians and fly down the alley. It is one thing to go faster down it with nobody around, but when there are dozens of students – which including elementary aged kids coming from Spanger – who are right along the edge of the small street, speeding down is very dangerous to the walking students.

I drive a Ford Bronco. It is a truck but definitely not the largest one out there. I also believe I am more courteous to pedestrians compared to most and always go slow through the alley after school. I often have to slow to a crawl when walkers are taking up so much space in the alley that I can’t safely pass them. Having a larger vehicle than most can be a slight problem but the walkers smake it hard for even average cars to drive. And when they do notice they never seem get out of the way quickly, they take their time. Sometimes it seems that the only way to get down the alley in a timely manner is to speed and make the walkers notice you.

One solution that could improve the problem in the alley very easily is if the pavement was widened as wide as it could get and add a sidewalk or bike lane. Those who are not in a car would have to stay all on one side and stay in a designated area. The other side of the alley would be reserved for cars who could make it down the alley faster – because they wouldn’t have to stop for walkers – and it would almost eliminate the danger of hitting a student.

Even though the alley was repaved recently, it is still not in good condition. The very edges have chunks missing and the road is not even enough to drive on. The potholes being filled in was a step in the right direction but that was not the biggest problem.

A cheaper solution would be to cover the dirt along the edges with gravel, which wouldn’t force pedestrians to the street on rainy days.
In the current system, a student will eventually get injured using the alley unless a change is made.