NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – Getting caught in traffic is no fun for anyone especially when you’re just trying to pick up your kid from school at the end of a long day.
After a chaotic start on Tuesday, Neenah city and school officials are trying to figure out the best way to handle traffic congestion at the new Neenah Middle School.
“Pickup time is a little chaotic, if you have the ability to show up early, that is the way to go,” said parent Madison Burgett.
“The very first day was crazy it seemed like all of Neenah was here to drop off kids at the same time,” said parent Krista Johnson.
Neenah Joint School District officials, Neenah police officers, and Kobussen Buses officials have made changes since day one of school to try to smooth things out.
On Wednesday, day two of school, they prohibited left turns onto and off of several of the busy streets around the school. On Thursday, day three of school, they created left turn lanes on Tullar Road.
The old Neenah High School is now the district’s middle school. District officials said traffic patterns are different even though it’s in the same location because a middle school will have no student drivers therefore there are usually more parents picking up kids.
Officials tell Local 5 News they’ll continue to experiment with different methods and evaluate which ones work best.
“We noticed a need right away for improvements in the flow of traffic,” said Neenah community policing coordinator Joe Benoit.
“It seemed like even on the second day they made some changes and things rolled a lot smoother,” said Johnson.
Parents told Local 5 News that although they think things are better compared to that first day, there’s still room for improvement. Burgett noted that school officials are not fully using the large parking lot in front of the school.
Officials say it’s divided to provide space for buses, car pickup, and for students to safely walk. They said they are going to re-evaluate how they utilize the parking lot in a meeting next week.
“There’s a giant empty parking lot that I used to park at when I went to school here, which I think everybody should be able to use to pick up their children,” said Burgett.
“Be patient with the process and that we’re continuing to refine it,” said the district’s communications director Jim Strick when asked what his message would be to parents as the district tries to iron out the wrinkles with traffic at the middle school. “But also that we do appreciate the feedback.”
Neenah Middle School has about 2,000 students and includes fifth through eighth graders.
“We’ve been working together ever since then to make the best plan possible,” said Benoit.