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Traffic changes designed to ease congestion around Barnes Elementary

Posted at 9:46 AM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-08 13:45:51-05

As students left Ella Barnes Elementary School Monday, traffic flow was surprisingly efficient.

The intersection of Oso Parkway and Toronto Drive, a spot notorious for backups, saw steady movement on the first day back from winter break.

“We’re hoping as we move the traffic patterns differently, that will clear up, traffic going through won’t be so backed up,” said Barnes Principal Katie Gorman.

The first change: ‘No Parking’ signs on the same side of Toronto as the school.

“That’s the queue to come in to our horseshoe,” said Gorman.  “All that traffic is moved over a lane, and through traffic can get to Oso Parkway.”

Parents waiting to pick up their kids Monday noticed the difference.

“It was a nightmare, especially for the people on Toronto,” Barnes parent Gabriel Pincelli said.

Pincelli picks up his 6-year-old daughter Audrey from Kindergarten at Barnes every day.  Because of the traffic, he often gets there at least 40 minutes early and waits.

“We’re still gonna have to park and wait, so I’m not sure it really helps the parents,” said Pincelli.  “I understand the frustration of the residents in the neighborhood, it would drive me crazy.”

Starting next week, those frustrations should ease as Toronto becomes a one-way during drop off and pick up hours.  That means no turns from Oso on to Toronto.  It’s a move designed to keep everyone safe.

“Some people were making their own lane, going the wrong way in the opposite lane,” said Gorman.  “This way we won’t have that anymore.”

Another upcoming change is opening both of the school’s lots to parents picking up.  With both lots opening, parents will only be allowed to turn one way out of each lot during peak hours, taking traffic out of the crosswalk in front of the school.

‘We are anticipating not as much traffic going through the crosswalk area,” said Gorman.  “We won’t have as much traffic impacting those kids who are crossing.”

Several Toronto Drive residents spoke to KRIS 6 News off-camera on Monday.  They say they are ecstatic about these new traffic pattern changes.