Is there anyone out there who hasn’t endured the madness during school carpool? A well-designed school site will reduce these long carpool waits, bus flow problems and unsafe pedestrian crossing, making arriving and departing from school merry, instead of maddening.
“Proper school traffic circulation is not only for the safety of the children, but also for parent sanity,” said Will Rogan, PE, ADC project manager.
three important factors that go into planning an efficient school site design:
Parent pick-up/ drop-off loops and bus loops should be one-way lanes in a counter-clockwise direction to ensure that students safely enter and exit from the right side of the vehicles and arrive at the building without crossing through traffic.
Parent pick-up/ drop-off loops should include a lane for vehicles that are picking-up or dropping-off students as well as a bypass lane. Located to the left, bypass lanes are used when a child is being pokey about getting into his car and the cars behind can move into the bypass lane and exit, thereby reducing backed-up traffic.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation has a recommended minimum “stacking” length requirements for schools. Stacking length refers to the estimated distance cars stack-up at school pick-up and drop-off. An efficient school site is designed with driveways long enough to accommodate the stacking length of those vehicles without impeding traffic flow on adjacent roadways.
Pick-up/ drop-off loops and bus loops are ideally kept separate. The bus area should also be designed so that buses are not required to reverse, only drive forward.
Raised crosswalks act as speed humps and force slower vehicle speeds to promote safe student travel. These are used whenever pedestrians must cross through traffic flow.
Pedestrian connectivity is advantageous to the entire community, so designing a school site that encourages bikers and walkers is often a goal. The school site should include a designated bike lane or route and sidewalks with little or no interference with vehicle traffic.