The rapid growth of student population is affecting traffic
The student population in American High School has been steadily rising from 2,015 students in the 2014-2015 school year to 2,112 students in 2015-2016 school year, causing an increase in traffic. In five years, American High School is predicted to have 2,718 students, exceeding its capacity of 2,193 students.
Due to the rise in student population, in the beginning of this year, administration implemented new policies in the back parking lot to prevent traffic jams and to monitor the safety of students.
“Curbs have been repainted, flow of traffic has been reconfigured, and cones and barricades are being used to streamline the flow of the cars,” assistant principal Amanda Melsby said. “There are two campus supervisors monitoring the crosswalks in the morning and after school, reminding students to use the crosswalk, but we have a school of 2000 people and it is hard for them to see everything.”
Despite of these new strategies placed, a student, on October 1, 2015, was struck by a car after school, while trying to cross Alder. As ambulances, the police, and the administration quickly arrived at the scene, the student was immediately transported to medical attention. Principal Musto sent out an email after school, warning students to use the crosswalk and the parents to be cautious while driving.
“This accident is the scariest call we can get on the radio,” Musto said. “This is the worst thing you want to hear. I am very pleased on how the staff reacted to this accident. The staff and teachers were all very helpful in getting the road cleared for the emergency vehicle to come.”
After this accident, the administration had a meeting on October 19, 2015 with the city to discuss ideas on how to control the traffic.
“I already contacted the city department and two things are in motion,” Musto said. “First, building speed lumps are in the process and should be done by spring. Second, I requested a crosswalk to be placed between the school crosswalk and Nettles Court.”
The campus supervisor, Alex Smith, suggests that students need to find other alternatives to come to school, so traffic flow can decrease.
“Not everybody needs to be dropped off at the back parking lot.” Smith said. “We have a school of 2,000 students and two-thirds of the students are being dropped off at the parking lot. At a point, we need to grow up as adults and walk, take the bus, or bicycle to school. If more kids walk to school, traffic itself would die off.”
Some students have been using other alternatives to commute to and from school. Senior Jimmy Guo bicycles to school almost every day, but he is not the only one. There has been a rise in the number of people bicycling to school this year and the administration has ordered a second bicycle rack to facilitate these bicycles.
“There will always be aggressive or reckless drivers, but I’ve avoided accidents for four years by looking around, being aware of my surroundings, and waiting; even though, I have the right of way,” Guo said.
Student’s who drive to school, find other ways of avoiding traffic.
“To minimize traveling time, I’ve had to compromise by leaving my house around 7:25 am and getting to school early, instead of struggling through the morning traffic,” Bhavya Malladi (12) said. “Even after school, I usually wait for about half an hour so the parking lot traffic clears up before I drive home.”
Musto also advises students to use the sidewalks to avoid future accidents.
“Please always cross at the crosswalk even it is out of your way,” Musto said. “Please do not get dropped off along the street at Fremont Boulevard and Alder because it creates possibility of accidents.”