Home News Traffic and road conditions worsen with the winter weather

Traffic and road conditions worsen with the winter weather

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It’s no big secret that the road traffic conditions surrounding Oswego High School are a giant mess, but in this case, worsening winter weather is affecting one of the most necessary places students rely on to get the school day started: the drop-off line. 

On a daily basis, a large number of cars line up on Route 71 to turn into the school. Members of the OHS community rely on this drop-off line to get safely into the school, but the extremely long line of cars that builds up makes it near impossible. Students with parking spots on the football stadium side of the building are especially upset with this and feel that the school has not shown much sympathy for student drivers.

On Monday, Jan. 25, Oswego received an unexpected amount of snow, which created complications for drivers, especially early in the morning. The roads were not clear of snow unlike usual, only adding to the typical chaos that builds up in the roads leading up to Oswego High School. Many students that would usually drive themselves to school decided to take the safer route of having a parent or a guardian drop them off instead. 

With this unexpected increase in students being dropped off, the drop-off line nearly doubled, reaching as far as Forest Avenue, which is about a mile from the school. With these unexpected conditions, many students ended up being late for class. 

Oswego High School Dean’s Assistant Bonnie Buss revealed that it “took [them] almost all of first period to get all of the kids in.”

But still, with below-zero weather or not, the underlying problem still lies in the drop-off line, according to an Instagram poll posted by 42Fifty’s Instagram account. When anonymously asked about opinions on the traffic conditions, about 6 responses were in relation to the pick-up/ drop-off line and front parking.

But why is it such a problem? Well, it has to do with the configuration of the parking lot itself and changes in how students are getting to school this year. There is only one road available to get into the parking lot, meaning both student drivers and parents are having to wait in the same line. The same path that, guardians use to drop off their students, loops around and goes out the same way they entered. This slows down the line because it makes it difficult for those cars to exit out of the parking lot, while still trying to let students into their parking spaces.

Birds-view of Oswego High School stadium side parking lot and Route 71.
Photo Credit: Screenshot of Google Maps

“More parents [are] dropping off students because of COVID and bus issues,” Buss said. 

Earlier this school year during first-semester bus driver shortages led Oswego High School to require an emergency online learning day, which was accompanied by a similar ​​optional remote day earlier this semester for students who typically rely on the bus to get to school.

But senior Lalli Palomo had a different idea of what could be causing the traffic.

“The cops [who direct traffic] don’t stay long enough for us to get into the school [[…]] they leave at 7:10 a.m., leaving the lines as they are,’’ she said. “I feel like getting out of the school is not as big of a deal as getting in, because we’re not marked for attendance [unlike in the mornings],” she added.

When asked for some possible solutions, a common response from the survey was a “grace period” after 7:20 a.m. for students to not get marked tardy due to getting caught up in traffic. In this case, students could receive a time period of about 15 minutes or until the front office sees fit, where they receive passes for their first-period class. Although the front office does sometimes utilize this, students are asking for them to be more understanding, especially on days with severe weather. 

Senior Tara Romero suggested a different approach where they could use the paved road that connects both parking lots on the left end of the school. 

“[Parents] can drop kids off at the athletic entrance and then loop out and exit through the front,’’ Romero said.

This issue seems to only get worse as the temperatures keep dropping, and with recent bus issues, there is no longer a reliable source of transportation as there was before. Students are irritated and in desperate want of some changes to make their mornings a little less chaotic.

“They put a lot of the blame on us when we are late to school, but it shouldn’t be that difficult to get into your school,” Romero said. “You have these kids being marked absent, and a handful of kids that are missing school because they can’t drive in this weather [[…]] which is why our absences are pretty bad right now.’’

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Hi! My name is Ana Iracheta and I am a Junior at Oswego High School. I am very excited to start my first year as a part of 42Fifty as Social Media editor and Spanish editor. In my free time outside of school I enjoy sewing, reading, eating nerds ropes and spinning around on my aerial silk. I also love taking my dog on walks and giving him many unnecessary treats because he’s cute.

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