The sign says NO parking

The sign says NO parking

Just another afternoon of busy traffic on RB property.

Madison Powers, Web Editor

Parking at RB can be quite a hassle. I’m not talking about the walk from the parking lot to the school or even finding a spot. I’m talking about when the 3:05 bell has finally rung and the student body leaves the building and heads toward the parking lot.

I know many students who move as quickly as possible, just so they can get into the line of cars leaving school faster. A person can be waiting in this line for half an hour without leaving school property. It’s really frustrating when you need to get home right after school because this line takes so long. I’m not blaming all the kids who drive to school; many are just as fed up with the situation as I am.

The reason the line is so backed up is because of the people who get picked up after school. The drivers wait on the right side of the street for their kids to get out of school. It drives me crazy because there are signs all along that street that “No Parking”. Parents should be aware of this and how much trouble they are creating for the students trying to leave. This is such a big deal because instead of two lines forming to turn into Brookfield and Riverside respectively, only one line is formed. This creates such a backup that is takes at least 20 minutes to leave the parking lot.

Assistant Principal John Passarella smiled when faced with the question of whether RB had a parking/traffic problem.

Passarella said, “It would be healthier for kids to walk on a day when the weather isn’t bad.”

Another solution he feels could really help the situation is to have police start ticketing everyone who does not obey the law.

“I appreciate the police when they ticket those who violate laws which endanger our students, such as using cell phones or any other unsafe driving situation,” he said.

The parking situation was not always the way it is now. Before 2010, teachers parked where the current field house is now and the students parked where the teachers are now parking. Rockefeller was a street in which students, Zoo employees, and guests were able to use. Traffic was relatively light and not as congested until the reconstruction of the school. Riverside Chief of Police Tom Weitzel also suggested another reason the traffic is so heavy is because of the traffic signal at First Avenue. When cars cannot turn onto first, the traffic from the school comes to a standstill.

The police department is trying to deal with this issue in many ways. They have formed a Traffic-Parking Review Committee, headed by Sergeant Bill Gutschick.

In an e-mailed response to my questions, Weitzel said, “The committee has been meeting since April 2011, putting together ideas and sharing concerns about the traffic situation around the area. The last meeting involved many residents from Riverside and Brookfield in order to get their input into improving the situation.  Illinois Department of Transportation conducted a study of the intersection which showed need for improvement; however, those improvements are contingent to funding.”

An Intensified Traffic Enforcement Unit was formed, with extra enforcement in the high school area. They have taken many measures to illustrate the rules that parents, students, and any other person driving in the area must follow. The police department has also moved its operational hours to be more effective in policing the area.

 In the meantime, parents should start listening to the signs and stop parking on that side of the street. The other side has just as many parking spots available without creating such a mess for the student body.

If they are not going to cooperate, the police should start writing up tickets. We are talking about simple traffic laws that everyone should obey. It’s not that difficult.

Weitzel also said, “So far in 2011, officers have issued 172 parking citations around RB for various infractions.”

What bothers me the most is this:  if the police are doing all they can to try and make the parking and traffic issue easier on all, why are people not complying? It is not a very difficult task to park someplace else. There are many other streets to park on and wait for the student you are going to pick up rather than sitting in a no parking zone. It is not that hard to walk. 

This may not seem like a big deal, but when you are a busy high school student, as many are, that twenty minutes can really affect your day.

The simple solution is to follow the no parking signs located all along the street.