Patriot Has a Traffic Problem: Here’s How to Fix It

The Parking lot for Patriot High School has been plagued with problems for an exceedingly long time. The reason is simple: parents enter the student parking lot, come to a stop, and then drop their children off. While this doesn’t sound that bad, there is an abundance of parents who do this and ultimately take much longer than necessary.  

The timing is the root cause of this issue. Parents or guardians come to the school around 7:20 a.m., which is the same time that most students also arrive. When parents stop all movement, students are held up for much longer than they should be. As a result, students are late to class and are granted an unexcused tardy due to these traffic problems. 

 The Perspective of Parents 

 Parents have their own reasons for dropping their children off in the incorrect direction. For instance, going through the student parking lot rather than the carpool line is faster and more efficient. 

 Some parents feel the need to enter the student parking lot because the carpool line is in poor condition. In the carpool line, drivers cut in line, break traffic rules, and some busses even cut off the cars in the carpool line. Additionally, some parents don’t even know the direction of the traffic, ultimately leading to confusion. 

 School security officer and traffic manager, Robet Murphy believes that the traffic issues at Patriot are valid problems. He says that in the past couple months, parents have gotten better at navigating the “correct” traffic flow.” 

 “The problem is the parents. Not all of them are doing it with mal intent, some just don’t know how the traffic direction is supposed to go,” Murphy said. “What we have been doing to make this better is waving down parents who try to enter the student section, and tell them what to do. But like I said, there will always be people who break the rules.” 

Morning traffic in the car rider line outside Patriot (Wamia Chowdhury)

 The Perspective of Student 

 Some students believe that the entire situation is unfair. These select individuals have a point, as all students who park there are required to pay a parking pass of $100 every year. Despite paying a hefty amount annually to park, they are delayed by parents. Many students have mentioned that parents should be fined.  

 “Due to COVID, we have seen a 300% increase in the volume of parent driver,” Murphy said. “They don’t want their kids on the bus, but we’re are trying to make the situation as good as it can be.” 

 Murphy says that opening a second lane at the T Clay Wood entrance has alleviated the problem. 

 “To stop people from breaking the rules, we opened the second lane by the T Clay Wood entrance,” Murphy said. “To stop the bus problem, we have started letting parents turn into the teacher parking lot to make things a little faster, because if one car gets backed up, then all of them do. We have seen that this has helped the problem, but there are always going to be parents who break the rules.” 

 Here’s How to Fix the Problem 

 The common consensus on how to fix these issues has been to create a new exit for the parents so that they have a faster way to leave which will encourage them to use their carpool line and stay away from the student section. 

 Another popular solution is to open another exit for the seniors by their parking lot that lets them leave directly from T Clay Wood, and then all the other drivers exit through the normal lane. However, the problem with opening a new lane is that it requires a lot of money and permission from the county. It is also unclear how this would effect cars parked in the T Clay Wood lot.  

 “The problems implementing that would be that because we have our two lane plan at T Clay Wood, if we add another lane, and people try to cut in front of each other, then that could get dangerous, and we might see car crashes start to happen a lot more,” Murphy said.”  

 Patriot could also install a traffic light, which would not require building a new road or opening a new lane. This would organize traffic and make the entire process more streamlined. The school would have to pay to put up this light, but the county would not need to approve it. With more organized traffic, that could alleviate the problem with the confusing exits for drivers. 

 Final Thoughts  

 There are many solutions to hopefully make all of the issues with traffic at Patriot High School better. The faculty also agrees with the students and are doing what they can. While both students and parents have their own opinions on how to improve the traffic situation, it is clear that there are potential obstacles to each solution. Hopefully with times, these issues will be properly resolved and the parking lot will no longer be