The first week of school is hectic on any campus, but traffic troubles at one Tulsa school have administrators scratching their heads, scrambling to come up with a solution. The smooth flow of traffic on 41st Street is disrupted every day when classes let out at Edison Preparatory.
News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin says every weekday afternoon around 3:30, the four lanes of 41st Street practically turn into a parking lot.
â€œIt's horrible. It is a mess." When that final bell rings, it's a mad dash at Edison, 2,000 kids headed home, traveling on foot, by bus and most by private car.
Edison principal Steve Mayfield: "Oh, just a nightmare." Planners designed the traffic flow to go one way, circle behind the school and funnel out the front, but a growing student population simply made that route too slow for both cars and buses. "That was creating an enormous traffic jam on our back road so we put them out on 41st this year, trying to ease some of the congestion in the back."
Now the buses, although briefly, block an entire lane on 41st. Parents are supposed to use the road behind the school, but we saw many just stopping in the street. Some students stepped right out into traffic, adding to the chaos, as frustrated workers tried to direct the flow.
School officials say they've been trying for years to get the city to put in a stoplight, but they say engineers told them a nearby corner didn't need one, because there isn't enough traffic. Without the help of a signal, Mayfield thought returning to the pickup pattern of several years ago would be an improvement.
Parents were skeptical.
â€œWe're just sitting and waiting, but it's still pretty congested."
"It's a bit of a mess. There are a lot of cars."
Steve Mayfield: "No matter what we do, it's gonna create a problem. I know it's an inconvenience, and I'm the first to admit that, but I have a concern, I need to get these children out of here and home as soon as I can."
School officials say they're going to give it until the end of the week, then decide whether to stick with this plan or go back to the way it was last year. They're still holding out hope for a stoplight.