East Sacramento Preservation received detailed information about Sacred Heart Parish School’s efforts to lessen its impact on neighborhood traffic.
Following are the strategies SHPS reports using:
- Staggering dismissal times–Kindergarteners (the students who take the longest to load into a car) are now dismissed 15 minutes later than the rest of the student body.
- Students who walk and ride bikes or scooters are held on campus until the car traffic has subsided (average 75 students a day in the winter months).
- We have a window of half an hour for parents to pick up students so not all parents need to arrive at the same time.
- We send frequent reminders, via email and newsletter, to parents that they should not stop and wait at the STOP signs and to obey all traffic laws.
- We time our dismissal on a daily basis and have found that from start to finish it takes about 15 minutes, while only 10 of those minutes seem to affect 39th Street.
- We encourage parents who are walking their students to park at the church and walk down to school.
- All teachers and teaching assistants are on the yard or on a crossing duty after school each day.
ESP, Inc. applauds the school and its responsiveness to neighborhood concerns. Illegal parking in red zones and waiting for students in traffic lanes has lessened. Parents are staggering pick ups and the back up of traffic is not as severe. The street is still blocked, but it has improved.
However, there is one sobering consideration about these strategies: if there were a life threatening event on 39th Street during the 10-15 minutes that traffic is backed up, first responders could have difficulty maneuvering on the street. Additionally, these policies are not a fix, they just improve a bad traffic plan–they don’t correct it.
East Sacramento Preservation goes on record: The current use of the SHPS traffic loop is not safe. Sacred Heart School should continue to analyze the problem and consider further development of the parish church parking lot to divert traffic.
ESP, Inc. suggested the following remedies in an earlier post.
- Ask Sacred Heart Parish Church to provide its parking lot as a student zone for morning and afternoon drop offs. The parking lot has adequate spaces for waiting parents. Employ a crossing guard to help children cross J Street safely.
- Ask Catholic Health Care West to extend the Mercy Hospital community van service to pick up and drop children from the school loop to the church parking lot.
- Convene a parent meeting to stress the need for car pooling, biking and walking to school, and offer a small but attractive tuition reduction to parents who pledge to drop their children at the church.
- Teach and emphasize bike safety in PE and encourage walking.
- Ask parking control and the SPD to patrol the area at the drop-off time and ticket red zone and double parking violators to reinforce your policy.
- Close the traffic loop to pick up and drop off during morning and afternoon drop off times once the new system is in effect, unless there is an extenuating circumstance.
How would you solve this problem? Let us know.