Morning School Commute Traffic Patterns Proving Successful; Tweaks Implemented to Accommodate Residents

By Julie Perine on March 29, 2019 via

At the beginning of the week, a morning school commute traffic pattern was put into place in an effort to create a smoother, faster traffic flow.
Thursday, some changes were made to the plan and those changes were implemented this morning.
Electronic signs posted at Water Street and Willow Lane previously indicated that all incoming traffic was prohibited. After some tweaking of the program and taking residents’ concerns into account, the signs now indicate that no school traffic is permitted to enter those streets between 7 and 8 a.m.
“That opened it up for neighborhood folks to be able to access it,” said City Manager Kim Haws.
Haws said the primary reason for those street closings was to clear up congestion of traffic within those neighborhoods so that emergency vehicles could enter when necessary.
“Vehicles were going through these residential neighborhoods, stacking up to the point that - because of on-street parking and narrow roads - emergency vehicles were not able to access those areas,” he said.
Secondarily, by streamlining the school route, the traffic flow to schools has improved.
Water Street leads to Faris Avenue which leads to Johnson Avenue. Some students and parents were taking that route to school, creating a major spill of traffic onto Johnson Avenue.
“People traveling Johnson Avenue would stop to let motorists coming out of those side streets onto Johnson Avenue and that would slow traffic down significantly,” Haws said. “There’s a much smoother flow of traffic now.”
Bridgeport Police Chief John Walker reported to Haws this morning that officers – before and after implementation of the new traffic pattern - had timed their routes from the basketball courts on lower Virginia Avenue to Greer Law Office at the corner of Philadelphia Avenue and Johnson Avenue.
At 7:06 a.m. – before the street closings - it took 15 minutes to arrive with multiple stops.
Today at the exact same time, the drive took three minutes with consistent movement of traffic.
“It might look like more traffic, but it moves fluently with the new patterns established,” Haws said.
A similar situation had occurred on the other side of the schools - Bridgeport Middle, Bridgeport High and Johnson Elementary, all located on Johnson Avenue. Motorists were turning onto Willow Lane to take Easy Street, then Woodland Avenue to school. Traffic moved faster on that side of town this morning also.
Haws said Water Street and Willow Lane to Easy Street will continue to be closed to school traffic between 7-8 a.m. on school days.
“We’ll continue to evaluate it. The biggest complaint I’ve received hasn’t been from traffic in the lines, but from residents who live in those neighborhoods and aren’t able to enter those main thoroughfares,” Haws said. “I think we’ve alleviated that by specifying the closings are for school traffic only.”
Anytime change is implemented, there are going to be concerns, Haws said.
“We’ll continue to be flexible and make this as functional as possible,” he said. “That’s the goal.”
Editor's Note: Top photos were taken by Joey Signorelli of Ben Queen Photography during the first day of the 2018-19 school year.

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