The Curious Case of Traffic at Apex High
By Kushal Upreti
Whether you hate it or love it, we all have a duty to come to school. And what better way to start off a school day than with traffic. Traffic has been an issue that affects not only the student population, but also the teachers. So how exactly is it being dealt with and has it gotten better?
For starters, it appears that the morning and afternoon traffic phenomena is a recent event that began ever since we moved back to the new Apex High campus. This can be credited to the fact that Apex High is one of the smaller high school campuses in the Wake County School System, as stated by Mr. Hill, an assistant principal and bus administrator. Consequently, this also means that we will have less space for people to move in and out. During our brief time at Green Level there were three designated areas for students to go in and out of school. One section was reserved for students, another for busses, and the final one being dedicated for carpool. This really helped with the traffic flow at that school; however, our current campus has a shared entrance for both busses and student drivers, and we generally have less space to work with for carpool compared to other schools. Another determining factor for this newfound traffic is the location of the school and the street it’s located on. As we all know the new campus is located on Laura Duncan Road, which Mr. Hill believes wasn’t really designed to handle this new influx of traffic– and for the most part his statement is supported by the fact that the road is small and straight, which indicates that it wouldn’t be able to handle hundreds of people on it at once.
Despite all the challenges the administrators have faced, there has been an observable reduction in traffic. Mr.Zies, the carpool administrator, saw that the parents were arriving at school very early, and as a result started the gridlock of cars very early on. To fix this issue, the administrators altered the time at which the carpool lot was open for dropoff to 6:30 a.m. Not only did this allow for students to arrive earlier on campus, it also helped move along an abundance of cars sooner than before– which ultimately serves to reduce traffic congestion. Another solution offered by the administrators is grace. Although it doesn’t serve to reduce the actual traffic itself, it works to reduce the stress students feel when they are coming to school late. More often than not, the administrators will understand if there was something you couldn’t control that kept you from getting to school on time. Mr. Zies stated that they will, and have in the past, given grace to students who have proper excuses such as a popped tire or if there was a traffic accident, in which case they will not count tardies. They even offer traffic guards for the student and bus lane. During both lunches, an administrator is usually outside helping the students get out of the parking deck at a reasonable time. In addition, our school resource officers offer their time in the afternoon to regulate the outgoing traffic for busses, student drivers, and walkers in a safe and timely manner. You might be wondering why there isn’t a traffic guard in the morning then. Well, the officers’ help is a privilege that we get. Normally, they work within the actual campus of the school, but they have been kind enough to help out in the afternoon, when outgoing traffic is much worse than the incoming traffic during the mornings.
If those were still not enough ways to reduce traffic then what else is there? Well, students can individually work to reduce traffic themselves. One major advice Mr. Zies and Mr. Hill has for students is to simply ride the bus. The bus is readily available for those that meet the bus riders eligibility, and it helps to reduce the number of cars on the road and carpool lane. The bus is also a very safe alternative as it gets darker in the mornings with each and every day. Another way students can work to reduce traffic is to arrive earlier at school. Although it isn’t the most favorable of solutions, it certainly is a valid one. Arriving earlier will help lower the total number of cars at a time given that everyone decided to leave at their normal or even late times. The sooner you get to school, the sooner you’re off the road.
Arriving at school on time is very important, but your safety comes above everything else. Both administrators have expressed the value of prioritizing your own safety. This means that students should be following proper driving laws, being patient, and being aware when driving. For those that walk, students should walk in designated areas only and they should be cautious when crossing roads. In general, the main takeaway should be that more often than not, students will arrive to school on time even with all the traffic they deal with; however, it’s important to be safe because eventually you’ll arrive to school, but if you put yourself in danger to get to school on time, you might find yourself dealing with consequences much worse than being late.