Board discusses Henry Leavenworth traffic

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The addition of a bus lane at Henry Leavenworth Elementary School has reduced the amount of time vehicles are stacked on the street as classes are dismissed for the day.

That is according to a report made last week to the Leavenworth Board of Education.

"This has been a problem for 11 years, and it has been constantly complained about," board member John Goodman said about traffic congestion around Henry Leavenworth Elementary.

A busing lane was constructed at the school this summer. The project was completed before the start of classes last month.

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

Director of Facilities Matt Dedeke updated board members last week regarding traffic conditions at the school.

He said vehicles still become stacked on the street.

But he said this used to be a problem at the school for about two hours each school day as parents began lining up their cars to wait to pick up their children. But with the addition the bus lane, the stacking of vehicles on the street lasts for less than 25 minutes each day.

"I think that was an overall improvement for the students and the community in that area," Dedeke said.

Dedeke said there are options for further alleviating the problem.

"There's a lot of options out there," he said.

One option that Dedeke reviewed last week is adding another lane for cars on the school property.

He said there would be a tight schedule if board members wanted such a lane completed before winter.

District officials also can seek additional review by an architectural firm to get a second opinion. He said the firm could look at the layout of the school's parking lot and the flow of traffic.

Dedeke noted that all schools have traffic congestion around the time classes are dismissed for the day.

"If you go by any of the schools, you will see it backed up for a block or two," he said.

Board Vice President Mike Powell said residents near Henry Leavenworth Elementary School are potentially cut off from receiving aid from emergency services during the time vehicles are stacked on the street. He said this is not a problem at other schools.

Board member Mike Carney said he understands the concerns of residents in the area, but he argued against moving too quickly in an effort to solve the problem.

"I don't want to see us rush into this, especially during the school year," he said.

Board President Judi Price asked district officials to look at what options can be considered.

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