Changes are in response to four traffic accidents near the high school in the past five years

According to Crook County High School Principal Michelle Jonas, there have been four traffic incidents over the past five years that have resulted in students being hit by a vehicle.

And, for her, that is four too many.

As a result, starting this fall, Jonas has instituted a number of traffic pattern changes that she hopes alleviates the problem.

“We are concerned about student safety and the blocking of traffic on Lynn Boulevard at key times of the day,” she said. “Especially during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times.”

Jonas added that parents have contacted her when they would see a close call or were concerned that parents weren’t dropping their kids off in the circle in front of the main entrance.

To that end, Jonas’ plan is intended to better separate student and parent drop-off traffic, without making any physical changes to the parking lots or street entrances and exits.

The changes include the following: parent and visitor traffic will enter and exit the campus at the main entrance off of Lynn Boulevard, opposite Knowledge Street; parents dropping off students will enter the campus via that approach and follow newly painted arrows around the traffic circle, dropping students at the circle; the visitor's parking area has been moved to the southeast portion of the north parking lot; students driving to school will enter and exit the campus from Fairgrounds Road, following arrows to the first entrance to the south parking lot; and new directional signs will be posted at the school entrance on Lynn Boulevard.

Jonas said that the district will also be training a staff member as a crossing guard for the morning and afternoon busy times.

Jerry Milstead, project manager for the district, said that they have worked closely with the city regarding the changes as the plans did involve city streets.

“We just want to say that the city and police department have both been very cooperative and supportive through the entire process,” he said.

Jonas added that no roads will be closed as a result of this plan and that the current one-way road adjacent to the tennis courts has been converted for two-way traffic, something it is designed to accommodate.

“Our hope is that we can train the students to use the student entrance and cross at the south side of the circle so as not to interfere with drop-off traffic,” explained Jonas, adding that she estimates that 200 students currently drive to school.

Jonas also strongly encourages parents to drive completely around the circle, as far as possible, before stopping.

“Hopefully these changes will be enough,” said Jonas. “We will be out there training everyone where to go and re-evaluate it as the year goes along to see if it alleviates the traffic.”

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