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School traffic jams

May contain: car, automobile, transportation, vehicle, parking lot, and parking
Brace yourself for traffic jams like this if the large new middle school is approved at Creekside.

These days, school buses are pretty much a thing of the past. They cost a lot of money to operate. Some time many moons ago school districts figured out they could save money by outsourcing as much of their  transportation costs as possible to parents and high schoolers with drivers licenses. And, given our area's extraordinary lack of sidewalks and safe pedestrian pathways, who can blame the parents for making like Uber drivers twice a day or letting their high school-age drivers have a car for trips to and from school?

That's why Arden Middle School has such a massive sea of asphalt. And it's why neighborhood streets around schools look like Dutch Brothers drive-throughs, with idling air emissions galore, minimal room for passing cars and difficulty getting in and out of residential driveways. It's all made worse on garbage days or when delivery trucks are trying to get through. Of course, it helps to have streets wide enough for two lanes plus parking on both sides and sidewalks as well. And it really helps to have large schools be on major thoroughfares, not dead-end streets.

May contain: road, building, urban, tarmac, asphalt, city, and town
The parking lot at Arden Middle School is so big the school district reduced the building footprint by going with a two story design, an option they insist won't be allowed at Creekside (or Arcade).

The streets around the proposed Middle School at Creekside are simply not set up to handle pickups and drop offs. It sits at the end of dead-end streets amidst narrow streets in neighborhood residential areas. The school district has proposed a cut-through street between Miramar and Elvyra. It is intended to loop drivers inbound from Kent/Miramar over to Belport for the outbound leg. The problem is that it is never easy to make turns - especially left turns - onto El Camino from Belport due to traffic on El Camino. So Belport will fill up pretty quickly and back things up well to the east side of the proposed campus. And, Belport being one of those really narrow streets with parked cars on both sides, traffic trying to turn northbound on Belport from El Camino will likely find there is not enough room to fit through. And that's about when an Amazon or UPS truck will try to turn from Elvyra onto Belport. Likewise for Elvyra to Fulton.

It's that kind of traffic nightmare that motivated the CHP to comment on the school district's Notice of Preparation for the project's Environmental Impact Report, expressing concerns about the traffic mess. Normally the CHP keeps a very low profile in our community, given that Arden Arcade is at the wrong end of the food chain for CHP services. Yet there they were, warning the school district that things could get really bad traffic-wise. One can only hope the school district will listen to the CHP, because the foreboding traffic problems are likely a deal-killer for the new large middle school proposed at Creekside. It's something the school district should have thought about before picking the Creekside site instead of after picking it.


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