School official: Bus lane improves congestion at Henry Leavenworth

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

While it still may be too early to know the full impact, a school district spokesman believes a new bus lane has improved traffic congestion around Henry Leavenworth Elementary School.

"I would say it is an improvement but there are still opportunities to get even better," said Jake Potter, director of public relations for Leavenworth public schools.

Earlier this summer, members of the Leavenworth Board of Education approved the construction of the bus lane at the site of Henry Leavenworth Elementary School.

The bus lane was constructed with the aim of alleviating a problem of stacking of vehicles on Vilas Street as parents wait to pick up their children after school.

Potter said the new bus lane allows an additional 30 to 40 vehicles onto the Henry Leavenworth Elementary School property instead of being stacked on the street. He said the new lane also makes it easy for buses to get in and out of the school property.

The $59,337 cost of the bus lane was split between the school district and the city of Leavenworth.

Classes for the new school year began Monday.

Potter said there generally is more traffic congestion around schools during the first week of classes. He said school officials will be watching to see what conditions are like during the second and third weeks of classes.

"There is just more activity in general those first several days of the school year, but as we get into the flow of that second or third week, I think we will see more predictable patterns," Potter said.

There are fewer students at Henry Leavenworth Elementary School this year because of the opening of the Earl Lawson Early Education Center, which houses classes for all of the district's kindergarten and prekindergarten students.

A long line of vehicles forms Monday as parents wait to pick up their children at Earl Lawson Early Education Center. This was the first day of classes. A school district official said adjustments have been made which have shortened the wait time for parents.

Earl Lawson Early Education Center, which is located at the site of the former Lawson Elementary School, had its own traffic congestion issues the first day of school.

"We had immediate lessons learned from the first day," Potter said.

He said adjustments were made after the first day and it is now taking less than 20 minutes for all Lawson students to be picked up.

Potter said school officials try to release students as safely as possible while also being good neighbors. He said it is important for drivers to slow down in the areas of the schools and be mindful of pedestrians.

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