Anyone who has been a student at Timberland High School will likely remember a couple of things: their favorite teachers, the congestion at the main staircase, and the student parking lot. Just what students remember from their time using the student parking lot may vary, but whether it’s getting to school 20 minutes before seven just to get a good parking spot, or sitting for 20 minutes in the cold waiting to get out of the parking lot, one thing is clear: there needs to be some sort of change to the parking lot to remove the infamous congestion and make it easier for the rapidly growing student body of Timberland to get in and out of the parking lot.
The parking lot takes upwards of 20 minutes to empty at the end of each school day, as anyone who drives to school is aware of. Some of this is caused by the fact that there are only three exits out of the student parking lot onto the sidestreet connecting the student parking lots. Only one car at a time can then turn onto Perry Cate from the sidestreet. To further exacerbate the issue, if a car is turning left onto Perry Cate, a car turning right that is immediately behind the car turning left has to wait for the car to turn left, which can hold up the traffic even further.
So what are the solutions to these issues? First, a right turn lane could be added at the intersection with Perry Cate. This would allow multiple cars to pull out of the parking lot at once, which would help to greatly accelerate the rate at which the parking lot empties. Turn lanes on Perry Cate turning into the parking lot could also be added, so those not turning into the school, and who are instead just driving straight on Perry Cate do not have to wait in the traffic of students turning into the parking lot. A larger change that would have the same effect would be to add a traffic circle at the exit to the parking lot and Perry Cate, something Holt High School has at multiple places near their parking lot.
Also, a second way out of the parking lot should be added. A couple of potential locations for this would be to loop around the football field to connect to the teacher parking lot, which would allow students to go straight to the highway using the sidestreet between the middle school and elementary school. Another location could be a street across the band field connecting the student parking lot to the central circle, which would have the same effect as the loop around the football field.
Whatever the solution, be it a traffic circle, turn lanes, or new roads, it is clear that there needs to be one. The congestion often lasts for over 20 minute as students and teachers try to leave the parking lot at the end of the day, and creates traffic on Perry Cate, which hold up residents of Stone Meadows attempting to leave the neighborhood. For these reasons, the school should take action to attempt and alleviate the traffic in the school parking lot.