BAKER — Baker School Principal Mike Martello held a parent meeting on Monday evening to discuss changes to the car and bus traffic flow.
The initial proposal of a change in the way drop-offs and pick-ups occur came after several businesses and parents presented concerns to Martello.
“Baker continues to grow. We had almost 1,500 kids here last year and with that comes additional traffic around our school,” Martello said. “Several people brought us their concerns about traffic backing up onto (State Road) 4. The credit union out front also asked if we could somehow alleviate traffic because some of their patrons couldn’t even get into the parking lot.”
One of the major factors in the decision to change how things flow is the safety of the students.
“Safety has been a big issue at school board meetings,” Martello said. “Having cars backed out so far created an unsafe situation.”
Martello said the school partnered with the transportation and facilities departments to find the best solution to the problem.
“We got with our transportation folks and asked them what were some alternatives for moving the buses,” Martello said. “Then we got with the facilities folks and talked about if we need to change anything and just put our heads together with those two. We came up with utilizing our facilities as they are.”
The new flow of school traffic calls for the bus and car areas to trade places. The car rider line will now be located where the bus ramp was, while the buses will now use the old car line. As they exit, drivers will have multiple options for getting back to State Road 4.
“This will redirect congestion to a part of the community where there is a lot less traffic,” Martello said. “I don’t think it will alleviate the congestion but it will put it in a place where it won’t be as impactful on the safety of the students.”
Martello said the school did some trial runs of the new flow of traffic at the end of last school year before informing parents of the change.
The 15 parents at the meeting did not disagree with the new route, but Martello said he hoped more parents would be involved.
“We’ll do another call out before school begins and also inform parents during the open house,” Martello said. “As new people are registering their children, we’ll make sure they know.”
Martello said the change mainly affects those with children in elementary school, but the safety of every student was considered in the change.
“If we can’t make sure you’re safe first, we’ll never get to educate you,” Martello said.
Martello said anyone with input or concerns about the new route should call the school at 850-689-7279.