- Last Updated on 11:03 PM 08/19/10
- BY Sonny Riddle
“As of this morning it seems to be working OK,” said Superintendent of Schools Paul Stapleton Thursday, commenting on the new traffic pattern at Halifax County Middle School.
In an effort to increase the safety of motorists traveling the Route 501 corridor through South Boston, the South Boston Police Department, in cooperation with the Halifax County School system, implemented the new traffic pattern for the pickup of students (car riders) at the front entrance of the school.
Parents who pick up their children at the middle school are using a new traffic pattern that involves northbound traffic on Route 501 (Halifax Road) using the north entrance onto the campus off 501.
The southern entrance to Middle School Road closes at 2:30 p.m.
The pattern for northbound traffic (parents picking up children) is to turn right at the northern entrance into the campus, travel through the bus parking lot, turn right onto the access road, and enter the middle school driveway from the southern entrance.
Parents also are able to access the campus from the traffic light on Old Halifax Road at Halifax County Senior High School and then follow the access road to the main entrance of the middle school.
After picking up students, parents turn left and exit off the campus onto 501 north.
Parents who are traveling south on Route 501 also will enter the school campus from the northern entrance to pick up children in the afternoon.
The southern entrance to the middle school is opened during the morning for drop-offs but closed at 2:30 p.m. At 3 p.m., the northern entrance is closed, and motorists must use the alternate high school entrance to pick up their children.
“It was a bit confusing at first because the pattern has changed,” said South Boston Police Captain B. K. Lovelace. “Overall it seems to be working.”
Halifax County Middle School Principal Beverly Crowder said she is initially pleased with the new traffic pattern. “I think once the parents become more accustomed to the new pattern, it will make it easier,” she said.
“The first day we had 151 car riders, but that number had decreased significantly by Wednesday.”
The change in the traffic pattern became necessary due to the number of vehicles parked along Halifax Road last year waiting to pull into the middle school driveway to pick up students.
“There would be anywhere from 15 to 25 cars backed up on Halifax Road almost to Arbroath Road,” said Capt. Lovelace.
Crowder said one of her concerns this year is the number of vehicles that begin lining up as early as 1:30 p.m. each day until school is dismissed at 3:05 p.m.
“If parents would come at 3:10, 3:15 or 3:20, they would be able to pull right up to the front entrance and pick up their children,” the principal said.
“With the new pattern, if parents would pull down to the traffic cones and not stop directly in front of the building, it would make it easier for everyone to pick up their children quicker,” Crowder added. “Parents have been very cooperative, though.”
Everyone seems to agree the new traffic pattern is accomplishing its main goal. “One of the positives of the pattern is that it’s keeping cars off 501,” Crowder said.
“We want to maintain a safe flow of traffic for our students and their parents,” said Superintendent Stapleton. “I also think the Town of South Boston Police Department needs to be commended for working with parents and explaining the route to them.”
Stapleton said for four days of implementing a new traffic pattern he thinks it is working very well. “I think at this point it’s working as well as anything they could do.”