Leave home: 7:17.
Arrive in BV car line: 7:22.
Finally pull up to the front doors: 7:27.
Traffic backed up on 159th Street.
An extensive amount of traffic on 159th Street before and after school results in a turtle-paced car line. Freshman Braydon Huschka said the slow line is an on-going annoyance. “It’s really frustrating,” Huschka said. “If you don’t get there early, you end up waiting in line for a long time.”
In addition to the long wait comes a line of cars that stretches out into the street.
“On the first day, all I could think when I saw the line was, ‘This is too long,’” freshman Drew McElwain said.
Principal Scott Bacon said the car line has always been an issue, partly due to the unique placement of the entry and exit ways.
“All of our exit and entrance venues are on the same street,” he said. “That’s what makes it complicated.”
He said the line became more of a concern when the houses were built across the street.
“As the neighborhoods developed over the years, we still have the same two-lane road accommodating probably 10 to 15 times as much traffic,” Bacon said. “That’s the issue.”
He said trying to fix the problem has not been easy and finding a permanent solution is a few years away.
“There has not been an easy resolution to it,” he said. “We’ve done some things differently over the years. For example, during certain times in the day as you exit you have to go to the right. It’s to help speed things up. If you’ve got people stopped there trying to make a left turn during the most densely crowded time, it’s almost impossible.”
Bacon said the proposed expansion into the Stanley Nature Park would alleviate traffic because there would be separate drop-off lines for cars and buses.
“Until we have a larger parking lot, it’s always going to be a concern,” Bacon said. “Down the line we may have a big- ger parking lot, and if that transpires, then that will help us.”
He also said the expansion would help decrease the amount of cars in certain areas because the cars will be spread out into multiple parking lots.
“Based on what the proposal is, we would have a lot behind the school, so the pick-up-drop-off area would not necessarily have to be [at the front doors],” Bacon said. “That might lessen congestion in the front. And certainly you won’t have the density of cars from [the senior parking lot] because a lot of these cars would park in the back and pull around from behind the school.”
Huschka said the traffic should decrease immensely if the expansion happens.
“It should bring the line down a ton,” he said. “The line gets longer sometimes from people trying to get to the park- ing lots.”
Bacon said the most populated time of the day falls between 2:45 p.m. and 3 p.m.
During that time, there is a blinking light by the east exit that prohibits left turns.
The same rules apply for the west exit. In the middle exit, cars can turn both left and right. Bacon said another guideline for the drop-off zone is parents should stay to the right of the line so buses can pass them on the left and pull forward.
He said this method seems to work fairly well, although it might not please everyone.
“Right now it’s probably about as efficient as we can make it,” Bacon said. “Which is not necessarily to every- body’s liking.”
He said not everyone may like the methods used in the line, but they understand them.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” Bacon said. “People have been very patient and realize that there’s not an easy solu- tion to it, so they make it work.”
Despite the current car line and parking lot congestion, this is not the worst BV has seen.
“We’ve been larger than we are now,” Bacon said, “It’s been worse than it is now. When we had 1,800 students before West opened, and quite honestly, the year before Southwest opened too, it took a while to get everybody through there.”
Before BVW opened, sophomores weren’t allowed to drive to school because there were not enough parking spots.
With the opening of West and Southwest, more spots were available to students, but there is still a lot of traffic.
“Compared to other high school areas, like at Southwest, you’re probably looking at a less densely populated area so that the traffic you would encounter out there is not like it would be on 159th Street,” Bacon said.
He said the car line has improved from previous years because people seem to be following the guidelines.
“Is it great?” Bacon said. “No, it’s never been great. Is it better than it’s been? Definitely.”